Many roadblocks conspire to keep 11-year-old Ari from getting into a prestigious middle school, but the biggest threat of all is the fact that she and her brother are now homeless. A heartfelt and perceptive look into a young girl's experience of running away from, and eventually towards, a new home. Perfect for 5th-7th graders looking for a read both serious and--ultimately--uplifting.
— Aubrey Restifo
When forced to choose between staying with her guardian and being with her big brother, Ari chose her big brother. There's just one problem Gage doesn t actually have a place to live. When Ari's mother died four years ago, she had two final wishes: that Ari and her older brother, Gage, would stay together always, and that Ari would go to Carter, the middle school for gifted students. So when nineteen-year-old Gage decides he can no longer live with their bossy guardian, Janna, Ari knows she has to go with him. But it's been two months, and Gage still hasn t found them an apartment. He and Ari have been "couch surfing," staying with Gage's friend in a tiny apartment, crashing with Gage's girlfriend and two roommates, and if necessary, sneaking into a juvenile shelter to escape the cold Maine nights. But all of this jumping around makes it hard for Ari to keep up with her schoolwork, never mind her friendships, and getting into Carter starts to seem impossible. Will Ari be forced to break one of her promises to Mama? Told in an open, authentic voice, this nuanced story of hiding in plain sight may have readers thinking about homelessness in a whole new way.
About the Author
Jennifer Richard Jacobson is the author of several books for children and young adults, including the middle-grade novel Small as an Elephant and the Andy Shane early chapter books, illustrated by Abby Carter. She lives in Cumberland, Maine.