Twins Crystal and Amber have the same goal: to be the first in their family to graduate high school and make something of their lives. When one gets pregnant during their junior year, they promise to raise the baby together. It’s not easy, but between their after-school jobs, they’re scraping by.
Crystal’s grades catch the attention of the new guidance counselor, who tells her about a college that offers a degree in automotive restoration, perfect for the car buff she is. When she secretly applies—and gets in—new opportunities threaten their once-certain plans, and Crystal must make a choice: follow her dreams or stay behind and honor the promise she made to her sister.
After one of the Robbins twins has a baby the summer before their senior year Kelly avoids revealing which one until well into the novel the girls vow to keep the child they name Natalie, graduate from their Portland, Ore., high school, and create better lives for all three of them. Amber wants to take over her aunt's tavern someday, and Crystal, passionate about vintage cars, plans to become a mechanic. When Crystal learns about a car restoration program at a Kansas college, she's torn. Told from Crystal's perspective, this contemporary novel from Kelly (the author of Restoring Harmony and other books as Jo lle Anthony) is rife with internal and external conflicts as it traces a sister's reckoning with secrets and the bonds of family. While highlighting the difficulties of being a teenage parent, Kelly shows how hard work, determination, and honesty can help make dreams come true. If the mystery of Natalie's parentage feels overly manufactured, the book remains a believable portrait of blue-collar teens struggling to make it work against tough odds. Ages 14 up.