Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she'd like to forget completely. But when Callie's mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie's real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life in small-town Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love-even with someone who seems an improbable choice-is more than just a possibility.
Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true.
Not only does Callie have secrets, she is one: she and her mother have been on the run since her parents split up and her mother abducted her. Five then, 17 now, Callie has had many names, and she wears thrift-store T-shirts that transform her into "a Cowboys fan or someone who's attended the Jenkins-Carter family reunion." She can wash her hair in a rest area sink and take care of herself and her erratic mother. Then comes a traffic stop, and suddenly her mother is in police custody, and Callie is meeting the father she barely remembers. Doller (Something Like Normal) makes Callie believably tough, scarred, and loyal, more used to hooking up than actually dating. The setting the tight-knit, heavily Greek community of Tarpon Springs, Fla. is nicely specific, and although Callie's family is a bit too perfect and the resolution of whether she will stay in Florida or return to her mother is made too easy, the pleasures of watching Callie grapple with her past, future, and a new love easily outweigh these quibbles. Ages 14 up.