Sonya Sones, award-winning author of What My Mother Doesn’t Know, delivers a gripping, funny, and inspiring novel in verse about what happens when the person you set out to save ends up saving you.
Right before winter break, fourteen-year-old Molly Rosenberg reluctantly volunteers to participate in Santa Monica’s annual homeless count, just to get her school’s community service requirement out of the way.
But when she ends up meeting Red, a spirited homeless girl only a few years older than she is, Molly makes it her mission to reunite her with her family in time for Christmas. This turns out to be extremely difficult—because Red refuses to talk about her past.
There are things Molly won’t talk about either. Like the awful thing that happened last winter. She may never be ready to talk about that. Not to Red, or to Cristo, the soulful boy she meets while riding the Ferris wheel one afternoon.
When Molly realizes that the friends who Red keeps mentioning are nothing more than voices inside Red’s head, she becomes even more concerned about her well-being. How will Molly keep her safe until she can figure out a way to get Red home?
In Sonya Sones’s inspiring novel, two girls, with much more in common than they realize, give each other a new perspective on the meaning of family, friendship, and forgiveness.
Fourteen-year-old Molly Rosenberg is cramming to finish her final stretch of school-imposed community service hours the first time she sees a homeless teen named Red. Unable to forget her, Molly is determined to win Red's trust and return her to her family. As a friendship develops between the two girls ("I didn't realize,/ until just now,/ how ridiculously starved I've been/ for human companionship"), Molly learns that Red suffers from schizophrenia and may need help with more than finding her way home. In this moving verse novel from Sones (To Be Perfectly Honest), Molly is motivated to save Red largely because of her guilt about her older brother, who returned home from war with PTSD and then disappeared on her watch. While Molly's quest may have started as a diversion from her own anxiety and guilt, her relationship with Red helps her reconnect with her parents and forgive herself for her brother's disappearance. A sweet romance and hopeful ending balance the heavy themes that propel this story, and Sones's staccato, first-person poems sensitively trace the innocence Molly sheds as her world expands. Ages 13 up.