A girl’s perfect life falls apart when her mother is arrested for a white collar crime in this novel School Library Journal calls “realistic yet positive.”
Carly Wheeler lives a charmed life. Her mother is a stylist for the soap opera Lovelock Falls, she lives in a nice house, and goes to an excellent private school. But when her mom is arrested and charged with embezzlement, everything starts to unravel. There are shocking stories about her mother’s crimes in the local newspaper. Carly's friends start avoiding her. And her stepfather starts worrying about money. How can Carly put her life back together when it feels like she’s missing all the pieces?
As she has in her earlier novels, Sheinmel (Sincerely; Positively) introduces a heroine coping with significant, disturbing change. Carly's life is upended when her mother, a stylist for a soap opera, is arrested for embezzlement. The seventh grader is embarrassed that her classmates are secretively talking about the scandal, and although Carly's mother reassures her that she loves her, "more than I've ever loved anything," Carly can't help thinking, "It just seemed like if you really loved your daughter, you wouldn't do anything so awful that it would ruin everything." The ramifications of Carly's mother's actions bleed into nearly every aspect of her daughter's life, and Carly's sense of loss is enormous and heartbreaking: her best friend shuns her; her mother's loving relationship with her stepfather deteriorates; her grandmother, who has Alzheimer's disease, no longer recognizes her; and most devastating her mother is sentenced to a year in prison. Sheinmel persuasively and sensitively conveys Carly's conflicting emotions and her attempts to make sense of what's been thrust upon her. Ages 9 13.