A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.
Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.
This is incredibly powerful, and so very sad. It’s hard to put down once you start, so be prepared to get immersed in Carey’s story. Mental illness, drug addiction, sexual abuse make this a story for older readers, but I recommend it wholeheartedly. The relationships, even the dysfunctional ones, are real and very well-written. Although it deals with heart wrenching themes, it’s a hopeful book, and speaks volumes about love.