1. School Library Journal, April 2001

    Gr 9 Up—Chloe Wilder lives with her grandparents in a quiet middle-class neighborhood. Some say she is angry, others think of her as quiet, but in reality, she is finally learning to replace some of the demons in her nightmares with a sense of normalcy. She has loving guardians; an eccentric but true friend, Marian; safety; and the friendship of her grandparents’ maid, Silvia, an illegal immigrant from Mexico. She almost believes everything is going to be OK when her mother’s husband kidnaps her and turns her world into a living nightmare. When her abusive mother forces her to rob her grandparents, Chloe stages her own death with an explosive fire. Then she and a very pregnant Silvia embark on an adventure similar to that of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. As they attempt to get to California, they drive in circles, run across tricksters, and end up in the dangerous projects. Stereotypes of ethnic, religious, and racial groups abound; some fit in the context of Chloe’s observations of her surroundings, while others are left for readers to ponder their purpose. The book is written in short chapters that will appeal to reluctant readers. Chloe is a spirited, resourceful, observant, and humorous heroine who will keep readers interested until the end, when things are wrapped up neatly, but believably.

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