Barbara Stuber's teen novel Crossing the Tracks is set in 1926, a wonderful story about Iris, a girl who feels alone, looking for a place to fit in.
Iris lives alone with her father, a distant man more interested in the shoe business he runs than his only child. To accommodate his latest business venture, Iris is sent to live on a farm taking care of an eldery woman while her son - a doctor- takes care of his many patients. Iris is in for a few surprises when she arrives to care for Mrs. Nesbitt, who is not nearly the frail woman Iris imagined. With the Nesbitts Iris is able to finally feel as though she belongs, yet her contract to work for them only goes into September when her father and his fiancee Celeste are expecting Iris to arrive in Kansas City to help work at their new store. When tragedy befalls Iris' family, Iris is finally given an opportunity to speak up for herself and express her own wishes.
I had read a few reviews about this one, but Amanda's review at A Patchwork of Books made me request this title at my library. Iris is a great character- a girl you want to help out, who you will root for the entire way. I loved the time period of this one as well. I will admit that the first line of the jacket flap, "At fifteen, Iris is a hobo of sorts," didn't hook me at first. I don't have a lot of interest in reading about hobos - but I appreciated Mrs. Nesbitt's definition of a hobo - that the word was really two words put together meaning a person who was homeward bound. AndIris is truly looking for a home - not just a place to live, but a family who loves her and cares for her. This is one of those books that hasn't received a lot of mention yet, but I am hoping that Stuber, who is a debut novelist, will have her talent recognized.