This Raging Light by Estelle Laurie.
Houghton Mifflin, 2016.978-0-544-53429-2. $17.99. 288p
“These are all the things Mom did while nobody noticed. I notice her now. I notice her isn’t. I notice her doesn’t.”
In her senior year, Lucille gets her little sister Wren ready to begin 4th grade. It appears that their mom has left them, although she declared that she “just needed a vacation.” Dad is in an alcoholic rehab.
During the rest of the book, Lucille deals with keeping their family together, facing all the things you need to do as part of a routine: making breakfast, making a lunch your sister loved yesterday but hates today, doing laundry so you have clean clothes. Lucille is determined, but has difficulty keeping away adults who notice. While she can keep Wren’s teacher at bay with notes and visits, excusing her mom, she can do little about the dwindling money. Then things fall more apart: best friend Eden stops talking to her; the car dies. She gets a job with little trouble, but without Eden babysitting, Wren is a problem.
Then there is Digby, the twin of her best friend. Who has a girlfriend. For whom she has fallen. The fact that he helps her with babysitting Wren and is just NICE doesn’t help.
Lucille deals with her issues like any overloaded teen: guilt, over-compensation, and overwork. She loves Wren, but understandably hates their circumstances and the fact that she can’t deal with what should be adult issues. She is in uncharted territory, at home, at work, and with the non-boyfriend boyfriend. Lucille deals with it all in a humorous, teen angsty, even poetic, way. Everyone itries on the adult persona, and fails– then tries again. And again.
Recommended 12 up