I seem to be late to the party in reading Courtney Sheinmel's books. I devoured All The Things You Are yesterday on one of our rainy days we had at home. This was a perfect middle grade/tween read about a topic that I've never seen covered in a book for kids.
Carly seems to be living an ideal life. She goes to a private school and has a close group of friends she hangs out with. Her mom has an exciting job as a stylist on a soap opera, and Carly knows some of the soap stars personally. Even her stepfather, Faux Pa, is a kind, caring man that Carly has known and loved since she was very young.
When Carly's mom is arrested for embezzling funds from her job, Carly's world is turned upside down. At first Carly believes her mother is innocent - after all, she is one of the nicest people Carly knows. So, when her mother admits to having taken money Carly is stunned - and angry.
No longer does Carly have a good group of friends. Her friends have heard the news, too, and some of them no longer want to be friends. Her stepfather is still supportive of Carly but is also upset with her mother. And, now that she has pled guilty, they know that she will be going to prison for a while.
This was a fascinating story to read. I know of two people who have embezzled money from their jobs. In both cases, I was no longer working where I would see them on a daily basis, but was stunned that these wonderful people would make such a poor decision. Sheinmel is able to portray Carly's mom as a real person - she is neither all good or all bad, but very human. All of Sheinmel's characters are well developed and the various feelings and sides to this story made this book a great read.