Her name is Sadie, but she might as well be called Fostergirl. Grouphomegirl. That’s how everyone thinks of her. Sadie doesn’t care. In fact, she’d be happier if they didn’t think of her at all. Her goal is to go unnoticed, to disappear. After living in twelve different foster homes, Sadie’s learned that nothing good comes from being noticed.
Now here she is again, this time in a small town. There’s a new high school, another new group home to get used to – lucky number 13. But Sadie’s not finding it easy to stay beneath the radar. In fact, she’s learning that it’s impossible to be invisible in a small town. She can’t seem to get people to stay out of her life, whether it’s the endlessly chatty Rhiannon, who for some reason wants to be her friend; Jackson, the do-good guidance counsellor who thinks she can make Sadie into a student; or the other girls in the group home whose problems keep intruding on her solitude.
Little by little, Sadie starts to wonder if there might be a different course for her life, one that lets a few other people along for the ride. Liane Shaw, author of thinandbeautiful.com, once again brings us a vivid and compelling portrait of a young woman at odds with the world around her.
Shaw (thinandbeautiful.com) doesn't have trouble creating obstacles for her main character, 15-year-old "fostergirl" Sadie. A string of unsuccessful foster placements has landed her in a group home with five other girls ("Messed-up babes from all over the place"); an overeager guidance counselor at her new school has diagnosed her with a learning disability; and Rhiannon, a chronically chipper student determined to befriend Sadie, won't shut up. In fact, Shaw's biggest challenge is making caustic, self-deprecating, and distrustful Sadie likable. Fortunately, she succeeds. Sadie, though tough as nails, narrates her story with an amusing edginess that works. Shaw keeps things PG-rated (with little swearing, minimal drinking, and practically no drugs or sex) while highlighting the reality of life as a foster child. An accident late in the book adds an unnecessarily melodramatic note and the book's ending is abrupt a quarrel with Rhiannon is hastily resolved, and readers are left with the impression that Sadie's circumstances are improving, though far from perfect. But for readers seeking an honest account of how a girl without parents survives, this story delivers. Ages 13 19.