DIY High

Amanda L. Webster. Elderfly, $10.99 paper (234p) ISBN 978-1-09-397633-5
Set in small-town Illinois, this uneven YA contemporary novel follows 15-year-old Gabby and her three younger siblings, who live with their fibromyalgia-afflicted single mother. Their father left them nearly homeless years ago and offers no child support. Though resourceful mom Kim espouses a positive outlook, money is tight, and Gabby frequently assumes a parenting role. When Kim is fired for falling asleep at work, life becomes dire—they cannot afford heat and must visit a church’s food pantry. Subsequently, the family becomes reliant on food stamps and unemployment checks as Kim sinks deeper into pain pill addiction. Two more years of struggles end in an eviction notice, forcing straight-A student and part-time waitress Gabby to choose between helping her family and staying in school. A lack of nuanced side characters and diversity weaken the narrative. While the ending feels contrived, the author provides food for thought about charitable “misplaced intentions.” Ages 12–up. (Self-published.)
Reviewed on : 11/26/2019
Release date: 07/01/2019
Genre: Children's
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