IF WISHES WERE HORSES

Merry Whiteford, Author, Merry McInerney-Whiteford, Author, Merry McInerney-Whiteford, Joint Author
Merry Whiteford, Author, Merry McInerney-Whiteford, Author, Merry McInerney-Whiteford, Joint Author . St. Martin's/Dunne $23.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-312-30188-0
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4668-7107-6
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Whiteford weaves a tale of self-discovery in this affecting story of a young girl growing up in upstate New York during the 1970s. Star Hennessy's mother, Mildred, is an alcoholic prostitute who has long since lost her hold on reality, relinquishing Star and her brother, Lucky, to a strict foster home that they share with two other emotionally scarred orphan boys, Pig and Skeeter. Star is a typical teenager in many respects, but she and her three companions are street smart and world weary, facing the harsh realities of their dubious social status with a bravado incongruous with their adolescence and a touching loyalty to each other. At 16, Star finds solace in poetry, but despite her intelligence and her sophistication about her mother's profession, she becomes pregnant by Pig. This cataclysm leads her to new insights about her background, as well as a pivotal decision about the direction of her life. Star's narrative voice is strong, but her patience with and sympathy for her feckless mother strain credulity, and many of the events in this sentimentalized portrait of a sensitive girl battling for a decent life are improbable. Star's redemption and fledgling career as a poet could be inspiring to teenagers, however, and this uplifting novel could find a home on the YA shelf. (Mar.)

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