Calli's life has changed a lot since her moms decided to become foster parents. Her mom, Brandi, has always wanted to have lots of kids, and her 'other mom' Liz grew up in foster care. Calli knows that fostering is important and that many of the kids have had very tough lives, but that doesn't make it any easier when she sees her foster sister, Cherish, kissing her boyfriend. Her mom's lupus is getting worse (stress doesn't help), she can't trust her boyfriend, she doesn't get along with Cherish, and she's having a hard time getting along with her best friend. Calli's not sure what to do anymore - but she knows she has to do something.
In Calli, Jessica Lee Anderson has created a novel that deals with many shades of gray. Cherish starts out by giving the reader a bad impression (kissing Calli's boyfriend), but she's more than just a one-note villain character. Calli's frustrations and sometimes even jealousy also prompt questions about privilege and perspective. I could empathize with Calli even when I didn't agree with what she was doing; I suspect I would feel the same way if the book had Cherish as a main character. In some ways (likely due to the length of the book), it felt like a glimpse into Calli's life; she had drama going on before the book started, and she'll have stuff going after the book ends.
I read an advance review copy at NetGalley.
See more at Milkweed Editions.
Find it at IndieBound.
Read it with:
Border Crossing by Jessica Lee Anderson
Trudy by Jessica Lee Anderson
All The Things You Are by Courtney Sheinmel
Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson
Perfect by Natasha Friend