In a small fishing village in British Columbia, twelve-year-old Primrose tries to be a matchmaker for her Uncle Jack, befriends Ked, a new foster child, tries to decide if she is willing to go to jail for her convictions, and together with Ked, publishes a cook book to raise money for the Fisherman’s Aid. Includes recipes.
Fourteen-year-old Alem Kelo adjusts to life as a foster child seeking asylum in London, while his Eritrean mother and Ethiopian father work for peace between their homelands in Africa.
I wanted to roar out. touch things i had never touched. to see if it was true. was i still here was this life still here. on this side. whatever you call it dude. wanted to touch everything like van Gogh touched and smeared everything when he painted. so i wrote it and spoke it. maybe mama would hear me. cuz i could hear her. sayin’ When your heart hurts, sing. wherever you go.
Lucky Z has always lived on the edge—he loved to skateboard, to drag race, to feel alive. But things have taken a turn—he’s living with new foster parents and a tragic past. An accident changed everything. And only his voice will set him free.
Jewel is shuttled from one foster home to another. But Jewel wasn’t always a “State Kid.” Her mother Angela’s constant search for happiness through a steady stream of unsavory boyfriends leads to the state’s intervention in Jewel’s life. Listening to her new foster mother’s list of “nos”—no drugs, no lying, no stealing, no skipping school, no boys in or out of the house, no being late—Jewel realizes that her mother said “yes” a lot. Probably too much. She remembers saving Angela’s life when one of many boyfriends beat her, trying to hide another boyfriend’s attempts to rape her when she was fourteen, and being sent to a foster home to please the latest boyfriend. But still, Jewel worries about her mother and knows that she will once again pick up the pieces when the latest jerk leaves. Bit by bit Jewel’s life begins to change for the better after her latest move to a new foster home and school. Although most people can’t see past her tough “State Kid” façade—spray-painted hair, heavy make-up, ripped clothing and unlaced shoes—her English teacher realizes there’s more to her then meets the eye. He convinces Jewel to tutor a fellow student who needs help with math, and gradually she learns how to make friends. In the process, she touches the lives of many people around her, including her social worker, teachers who believe in her, her new-found, tentative friends, and even their parents. But when she’s forced to choose between her life-long job—taking care of her mother”—and doing what’s right for herself, old habits and loyalties are hard to break. Jewel is sure that this time, she can save her mom. But will she be able to save herself?