Calli, by Jessica Lee Anderson (fiction) – foster sister or rotten apple?

book cover of Calli by Jessica Lee Anderson published by Milkweed Editions

Her boyfriend Dub is sweet,
her moms are loving and supportive,
best friend Delia helps her keep away the blues,
so Calli thinks that having a foster little sister would just make things even better…

Until rebellious teenager Cherish comes to their Lake Charles home as an emergency foster placement,
kissing Dub in the school hall,
spreading lies about Calli,
alienating her friends and stealing Calli’s things.

Now Calli wants to undo her wish for a foster sister and would turn back time in a heartbeat – but everyone knows that time only runs forward.

Jessica Lee Anderson brings us another highly readable story about a teen facing unusual challenges (see my no-spoiler recommendation of her Border Crossing here) and surviving, in spite of it all. Look for this 2011 book at your local library or independent bookstore.
**kmm

Book info: Calli / Jessica Lee Anderson. Milkweed Editions, 2011. [author’s website]    [publisher site]  

My Recommendation:

Trudging home in the coastal Louisiana heat, Calli wonders why she ever wished for a foster sister. Everyone in the high school knows that Calli saw her own boyfriend Dub liplocked with Cherish, guesses he decided that he wanted action instead of affection.
Mom and Liz weren’t sure that they’d be certified as a foster family, but they’re such good parents that Calli never had a doubt (much better parents than her father who returned to France when she was born and never looked back). They’d requested young children, but consented to an emergency placement for “a teenager at risk.”
Whatever weird thing happened with Cherish’s family to get her into foster care, the ninth grader isn’t letting it stop her from hanging around with upperclassmen, wearing tighter shirts than Calli, more makeup than Calli, trying to get Calli to do her homework. The girls bicker constantly at home (thank goodness they don’t share a bedroom), which makes Mom’s lupus flare up. Verbal spats get physical, and now the whole family is at risk.
Cherish steals from Calli, alienates her friends at school – is there anything that Cherish won’t try to take away from her? Is Dub lost to Calli forever? Will Cherish’s willful behavior keep Mom and Liz from ever having a young foster child to care for and love? Is Calli going to stay “plain old Calli” with braces forever?

An insightful look at less-traditional family life from the author of Border Crossing, this novel takes readers into that humid South Louisiana spring semester when Calli’s life changes for the worse, for the better, maybe for always. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

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