By Virginia Euwer Wolff
(Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), Hardcover, 9780805022285, 208pp.)
Publication Date: May 2, 2006
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Jolly is seventeen. She can't really spell. She doesn't have much of a job. And she has two little kids from two different, absent fathers.
Jolly knows she can't cope with Jilly and Jeremy all by herself. So she posts a notice on the school bulletin board: BABYSITTER NEEDED BAD. No one replies but Verna LaVaughn, who's only fourteen. How much help can she be?
For a while, Jolly, Jilly, Jeremy, and LaVaughn are an extraordinary family. Then LaVaughn takes the first steps toward building her own future, and Jolly begins the longs low process of turning the lemons of her life into lemonade.
Written in sixty-six chapters with text lines that break at natural speaking phrases, this is a startling novel by an extraordinary writer.
Virginia Euwer Wolff is an accomplished violinist and former elementary school and high school English teacher. Her first book for young readers, Probably Still Nick Swansen, was published in 1988 and won both the International Reading Association Award and the PEN-West Book Award. Since then she has written several more critically acclaimed young adult novels, earning more honors, including the National Book Award for True Believer, as well as the Golden Kite Award for Fiction and the Jane Addams Book Award for Children’s Books that Build Peace. Her books include The Mozart Season, This Full House and Bat 6. She lives in Oregon.
"Written in a riveting stream-of-consciousness fashion ... the book plunges into the depths of inner-city poverty.... At once disturbing and uplifting, this finely nuanced, touching portrait proudly affirms our ability to reach beyond ourselves and out to one another." --Booklist, starred review