One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Twelve-year-old Carley Connors can take a lot. Growing up in Las Vegas with her fun-loving mother, she's learned to be tough. But she never expected a betrayal that would land her in a foster care. When she's placed with the Murphys, a lively family with three boys, she's blindsided. Do happy families really exist? Carley knows she could never belong in their world, so she keeps her distance.

It's easy to stay suspicious of Daniel, the brother who is almost her age and is resentful she's there. But Mrs. Murphy makes her feel heard and seen for the first time, and the two younger boys seem determined to work their way into her heart. Before she knows it, Carley is protected the boys from a neighborhood bully and even teaching Daniel how to play basketball. Then just when she's feeling like she could truly be one of the Murphys, news from her mother shakes her world.


Overall, I enjoyed this book. It even made me tear up a bit at the end. I thought Carley was a well developed character and her story gave a believable depiction of the life of a foster child. It was clear that this was a YA novel, however. There were aspects of the book - Carley’s mother, the court case, even the social worker, to name a few - that were underdeveloped or glossed over. These are realities that foster children and foster families have to deal with, and they are not always pretty. I felt like this narrative shied away from some of the more unpleasant aspects of Carley’s situation. The focus was definitely on Carley and her developing relationships with the various members of the Murphy family. This was my favorite part of the book and the most endearing. It’s also what made me tear up at the end, when it was time to say goodbye. Definitely a worthwhile YA novel. 

2016 Reading Challenge: A book from the library

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