cover image Maid for It

Maid for It

Jamie Sumner. Atheneum, $17.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-665-90577-0

With sure-handed plotting and distinctive characters, this immediate-feeling novel from Sumner (The Summer of June) captures the lingering impact of substance reliance on one family. Three years after her mother’s rehab stay following a pain pill relapse, sixth-grader Franny Bishop relies on meticulously planned logistics to manage her own anxieties as well as her mom’s eating schedule. But handling what she perceives as her household responsibilities becomes more challenging when a car accident fractures her mother’s leg, resulting in necessary hospital pain management along with increased medical bills and decreased gigwork for her mother. After hiding the prescribed oxycodone tablets her mom tried to refuse (“If it comes to it, I’ll be the one to decide when and how much she gets”) and engaging in a bit of subterfuge, Franny secretly takes over her mom’s house-cleaning jobs to keep the family afloat. As Franny navigates the past traumas that led to her parentification, the aphorism-studded first-person narrative spotlights her learning to lean on others—including classmates; her mother’s sponsor, Mimi; and, eventually, her mom—in a novel about moving forward with awareness and hope. Protagonists largely cue as white. Ages 10–up. Agent: Keely Boeving, WordServe Literary. (Sept.)