When Ari’s mother died four years ago, she had two final wishes: that Ari and her older brother, Gage, would stay together always, and that Ari would go to Carter, the middle school for gifted students. So when nineteen-year-old Gage decides he can no longer live with their bossy guardian, Janna, Ari knows she has to go with him. But it’s been two months, and Gage still hasn’t found them an apartment. He and Ari have been "couch surfing," staying with Gage’s friend in a tiny apartment, crashing with Gage’s girlfriend and two roommates, and if necessary, sneaking into a juvenile shelter to escape the cold Maine nights. But all of this jumping around makes it hard for Ari to keep up with her schoolwork, never mind her friendships, and getting into Carter starts to seem impossible. Will Ari be forced to break one of her promises to Mama? Told in an open, authentic voice, this nuanced story of hiding in plain sight may have readers thinking about homelessness in a whole new way.
Ari and her older brother, Gage, have lived with a strict guardian since their mother died four years ago, but now Gage, 19, wants to leave and take 11-year-old Ari with him. The siblings' mother implored them to "Stay together always," but without an apartment or a job for Gage, they bounce around among friends' places and a homeless shelter, even spending a night in Gage's girlfriend's car. As Ari falls behind at school, she wonders if she can still fulfill her mother's wish for her to attend a middle-school for gifted kids. Despite an overly neat conclusion, Jacobson (Small as an Elephant) elevates her book beyond "problem novel" territory with an engaging narrator who works hard to be loyal to her brother and to her mother's memory. Small moments pack big emotional wallops, as when a teacher gives Ari "brand-new, tr s cool shoes" to replace her "ratty" ones, or when Ari pretends that the people she cuts from magazine are a family, because, "With a big family you're likely to have someone watching out for you always." A tender exploration of homelessness. Ages 10 up.
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I LOVE ALL THE DRAMA AND SEEING WHAT IT'S LIKE TO NOT HAVE A HOME. IT IS TOUCHING ON SO MANY LEVELS. I SERIOUSLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!