Lauren Moffit is privileged and overprotected by her wealthy parents. She is one of the few African American students in a prestigious prep school in a predominately white neighborhood. The world is her oyster. Nothing can prepare her for the devastating scandal that rocks her world when her father is charged with investment fraud. Spoiled and self-centered, she struggles to keep her head high. But it's not until she hears the stories of the people in the park, where she takes her daily run, that Lauren realizes she can rise above her family "situation."
In her first novel for teens, Mitchell (Uncle Jed s Barbershop) explores divisions of race and class through the eyes of a petulant African-American girl whose privileged life is upended. When Lauren s father is accused of investment fraud, the scandal is splashed all over the news and gossiped about in the hallways of her prestigious, mostly-white high school. Lauren maintains a steely resolve when her mother becomes reclusive, her boyfriend dumps her, and she must relinquish her car and carefree spending habits. Thankfully, a handful of BFFs have her back, and an aunt and cousin help her cope and reacquaint her with church. Lauren soon discovers she also has the support of unexpected new friends, too. Though Mitchell introduces relevant themes, the story s pace is choppy, and numerous descriptions and dialogue exchanges feel forced. Lauren s edge is softened by her experiences, but the characters around her are stock players. Ages 12 up.