144p. Kids Can. Apr. 2016. Tr $15.95. ISBN 9781771383417.
Gr 5–8—Finch's life is a mess. Her father died, her mother is depressed and neglecting the children, and her older brother's cruel friend torments and threatens her. School is a nightmare: her best friend drops her, and her teacher ridicules her for not being able to write and spell properly (no explanation for this inability is ever given). Finch sees the bills piling up and is scared her family will lose their home. Meanwhile, a new family from India moves in next door, and Finch eventually befriends Pinky, who is in her grade. Pinky's parents are unhappy; one wants to stay in America, and the other wants to return to their native country. As Finch becomes increasingly despondent with her own situation, the tension next door escalates. Finch eventually has a meltdown of her own and finally tells her mother about everything that is bothering her. The stress and anxiety levels of the story are high, and the resolutions to the problems are, for the most part, unrealistic. While Finch is a multidimensional character who connects with Pinky and learns from her, Pinky herself and the other secondary characters, including people of color, are much less developed.
VERDICT A grim, issue-driven novel.

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