My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication Date: May 10th, 2012
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 11+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Family Relationships, Fostering
Twelve-year-old Carley Connors can take a lot. Growing up in Las Vegas with her fun-loving mother, she’s learned to be tough. But she never expected a betrayal that would land her in a foster care. When she’s placed with the Murphys, a lively family with three boys, she’s blindsided. Do happy families really exist? Carley knows she could never belong in their world, so she keeps her distance.
It’s easy to stay suspicious of Daniel, the brother who is almost her age and is resentful she’s there. But Mrs. Murphy makes her feel heard and seen for the first time, and the two younger boys seem determinded to work their way into her heart. Before she knows it, Carley is protected the boys from a neighbourhood bullly and even teaching Daniel how to play basketball. Then just when she’s feeling like she could truly be one of the Murphys, news from her mother shakes her world.
ONE FOR THE MURPHYS had a huge impact on me as a reader.
It tells an important story: that of a child from an abusive home entering the foster care system. The family that welcomes Carley is nothing like her own. She has trouble dealing with the thought of her mother helping her stepfather hurt her.
Physical abuse in general, but especially towards children, angers me and saddens me. No human being should be in favour of that. Parents have a responsibility to protect their children, not to put them in the hospital.
So Carley won me over rather quickly. Like other people her age who’ve faced such tragic events, she feels angry, scared and unsafe. The Murphys are a beautiful family who love one another – so where does she fit?
The story progresses extremely well. Carley takes her time getting to know her foster family. While at first she wants nothing to do with them, and stays away, she isn’t heartless. She may not respond adequately to someone caring for her, but it doesn’t mean she enjoys being left to fend for herself. That’s just what she’s used to.
Every emotional scene was like a lightening strike to my heart. Lynda Mullaly Hunt writes very authentic dramatic scenes. By the end of the book, I wanted to cry. The author never overwhelms us, though. She finds just the right balance of heartbreak and heartwarmth.
This isn’t my first book from her and definitely not my last. I wish she’d write more. Soon.
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