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Eleven-year-old Charlie Reese realizes that her family is “all broken and scattered every which way.” Still, she’s not happy with the fact that she’s been sent away from home to live with an aunt and uncle she doesn’t know. Also, she’s angry at herself “for being a loser that nobody wanted.”

Charlie is determined to hate the people in her new home, church, school, and community. All she wants to do is go home. She copes each day making by the same wish she’s made daily since the beginning of the fourth grade, longing for it to come true. But it doesn’t. At least not in the way she imagined. Charlie’s Aunt Bertha and Uncle Gus, her new friend Howard and his family, and a stray dog show her a new way of life, one in which authentic love is unconditional and helps all to flourish.

In this warm, appealing novel, middle school readers will enter a world where Christianity and church life play a significant role in people’s lives and where most adults love children and provide a stable environment in which they can thrive. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

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