Picture a Girl

Orca. May 2024. 192p. pap. $14.95. ISBN 9781459836662.
Gr 3-7–Readers spend a week in the life of Adelaide Scratch, a sixth grader living in a coastal community in British Columbia. During the tourist season, Adelaide’s mom can find odd jobs; but during the off-season, work is scarce. Adelaide loves her mother for her warmth and compassion, as well as her gift for nightly stories. But her mother has a tendency to disappear for days at a time, leaving Adelaide to figure out how to care for her younger brother, Billy, without letting anyone know they have been abandoned. When she wakes up Monday morning, Adelaide knows her mom has gone again. Without much food in the house, it’s up to Adelaide to find something to eat, get herself and Billy to school, and get home safely each day. Compounding Adelaide’s worries is the fact that the landlord keeps trying to collect back rent. When her mother does return, the stress of the week has given Adelaide the courage to speak up and tell her mother how she feels. Deftly working in familial context as bedtime stories from Adelaide and her mom, Manzer fills this title with lyrical prose and an engaging story to keep readers locked in until the very last page.
VERDICT Readers will root for Adelaide to catch a break and be able to return to the life of an 11-year-old instead of an overwhelmed person with adult responsibilities. Recommended for realistic fiction shelves.

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