by Laura Pedersen

November 2006
ISBN: 0-345-42956-4
Reviewer Graphic Button Ballantine Books
Trade Paperback

Hallie Palmer has just become more than “big sister” to her seven younger brothers and sisters. Her dad had a heart attack and did not pull through. Her mother took his death extremely hard. She has been placed in a special hospital to help her get through this. To Hallie this means she will have to quit college and curb her card sharking days for a while. Her brother Eric will continue on with school, his major will land him a better paying job and this is what this family needs right now, a steady income.

Even though the church ladies come to the rescue with food and helping out with the younger kids, Hallie’s life is in the downward spiral. She feels especially bad when she even can’t tell the twin boys apart, she does not know how her mom can tell them apart, as they are identical. What keeps Hallie going and keeps her hope is her good friend, Bernard and his partner, Gil. Not only do these do deliver comfort to Hallie and her family, they deliver some of the best one liners.

It seems it could not get any worse, but it does, the state is threatening to take the younger children out of the home and place them in foster care, unless Hallie can get someone to act as guardian. Who in their right mind would take on this family with their problems, Hallie is surprised when someone does step up to the plate, but this person could cause more harm than good, in Hallie’s opinion.

Even though the characters are dealing with death, confusion and an uncertain future, humor kept everything in focus. The one liners and comical situations will have the reader wiping the tears from their cheeks. Well worth the time to pick this book up.

Reviewed in December 2006 by Pat.

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