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New York : Hyperion Books
for Children, 1997.
is different from other kids her age. Most eleven-year-olds don't have
to move from apartment to apartment, and change schools several times during
the year. Not to mention the fact that sometimes her mother, a striking
Native American woman, doesn't come home from work when she should, and
Rayona has to stay up half the night waiting and worrying about her. After
these "hard nights" Rayona is allowed to stay home from school, and her
mother calls in sick to work. Rayona loves these days home with her mother.
The rules are: they have breakfast for supper (scrambled eggs, fried potatoes
and Froot Loops), they paint their fingernails and toenails a new and matching
shade, and they never talk about the night before. Rayona loves these holidays,
but the "hard nights" are happening more often. She used to only stay out
on the weekends, but now she is gone at least once or twice during the
week, and sometimes Rayona has to get herself ready and catch the bus for
school all by herself.
Sooner or later it was bound to happen. Rayona's mother is in the third
day of her latest "hard night" and out of the blue her father shows up
at the door of their apartment. He's looking for Christine, her mother,
and starts asking questions when he discovers that she is not at home.
He opens the refrigerator door and finds it's almost empty because her
mother hasn't been back since she got her paycheck. Rayona tries to pretend
she isn't hungry, but her father insists on taking her to IHOP. Over a
gigantic breakfast, he starts talking about how things have to change,
and Rayona believes he is going to ask her to come and live with him. Then
he says something that will change Rayona's life forever, "I am going to
call Social Services". (Kim R. Cole, kcoleTR@hotmail.com,
Monaview Elementary School, Greenville, S.C.)
Racially mixed people -- Fiction.
Family -- Fiction.
Parent and child -- Fiction.
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