The Fosters meets The Great Gilly Hopkins in this moving novel of a young girl who as sets off on an important mission to save a fellow foster kid from the home that still haunts her nightmares.
Twelve-year-old Pavi Sharma is an expert at the Front Door Face: the perfect mix of puppy dog eyes and a lemonade smile, the exact combination to put foster parents at ease as they open their front door to welcome you in. After being bounced around between foster families and shelter stays, Pavi is a foster care expert, and she runs a "business" teaching other foster kids all she has learned. With a wonderful foster family in mom Marjorie and brother Hamilton, things are looking up for Pavi.
Then Pavi meets Meridee: a new five-year-old foster kid, who is getting placed at Pavi's first horrendous foster home. Pavi knows no one will trust a kid about what happened on Lovely Lane, even one as mature as she is, so it's up to her to save Meridee.
With help from Hamilton, brooding eighth grader Santos, and Hamilton's somewhat obnoxious BFF Piper, they set off on an important mission with life-changing stakes. Pavi will stop at nothing to keep Meridee safe.
After living with four families, Indian American Pavi Sharma, 12, regards herself as a foster care expert. She has developed a business helping foster kids from her former shelter adjust to new homes, teaching her clients how to greet their new family (using "Front Door Face") and collecting Hot Cheetos and school supplies as payment. But Pavi's meticulously ordered life is upended when she meets Meridee, a small girl who is days away from being placed with Pavi's neglectful first foster family. Pavi prefers to keep her business separate from her current life with her nurturing foster mother and her kind foster brother Hamilton, who is Pavi's age. But remembering with visceral fear the vicious dog fights that took place in the backyard, Pavi decides to use her knowledge of the foster care system to prevent what she is sure will be a disastrous placement, reluctantly enlisting the help of her client Santos, Hamilton, and Hamilton's pal Piper. Despite the heavy subject matter, debut author Farr keeps the story moving swiftly, skillfully weaving in moments of tension that allow her diverse cast of flawed yet sympathetic characters to shine. Ages 8 12.