cover image Glennis, Before and After

Glennis, Before and After

Patricia Calvert / Author Atheneum Books $16 (160p) ISBN 978-0

Twelve-year-old Glennis compares her family to Humpty Dumpty ""broken into a kazillion million pieces."" After her father is jailed for committing a white-collar crime and her mother suffers a nervous breakdown, Glennis's brother and three sisters fly off in different directions to begin new lives in other people's homes. Glennis herself chooses to move near the federal prison, even though it means living on the wrong side of the tracks with cousin Skipper and Aunt Wanda (""who--up till my dad went to prison--was the only black sheep in our family""). Besides breaking stereotypes of heroes and villains, Calvert (The Snowbird; Bigger) explores how emotional prisons are built out of self-deception. Glennis's phases of hope (when she still believes in her father's innocence), anger (when her father patiently explains his guilt) and determination to regain some of her losses are vividly and sensitively portrayed. Throughout this poignant novel, readers will recognize Glennis's inner strength as she learns to accept and forgive human failings. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)