Seventh-grader Serena Shaw is trying to keep up at school while rehearsing for the lead role in the spring musical and dealing with a father so "blue" he is nearly catatonic. With the aid of a not-so-secret admirer, as well as a growing sense of self-confidence, she faces the challenges of caring for herself and her ball-of-charm younger brother—all while attempting to lead the life of a normal pre-teen. Readers will be drawn into this convincing portrait of a vivacious young person who is on a path to discovering that taking on responsibility sometimes means finding the best way to ask for help.

“Jones has done a magnificent job of describing someone who is clinically depressed.” —School Library Journal

“Serena's courage, perseverance, and hesitant relationships with friends, with Henry, and with new boyfriend Elijah make her a compelling character.” —Horn Book Magazine

“The portrayal of Serena is strong, showing both her maturity in handling her family problems and her normal seventh-grade insecurities. . . . A compassionate portrait of an African-American family coping with grief and mental illness.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A moving portrait of a girl forced by her mother's death and her father's incapacitating depression to accept adult household and child-raising responsibilities.” —Publishers Weekly

Traci L. Jones