Thursday, September 27, 2007


I'll Sing You One-O

by Nan Gregory

Gemma has lived on the Anderson's farm since she was 4, so even though they are foster parents, they are her family. Until the day that her uncle, aunt, and brother arrive and take her away to their too-perfect home with their persnickety rules and try to make her belong where she thinks it's clear she doesn't. She decides that she needs an angel to help her sort things out so she can go back to the farm and the only family that she has ever known. She goes to the library to do some research (yay!) and reads about the lives of many saints, deciding that she can get an angel to help her by being generous and taking care of someone worse off than her. She befriends a woman in the park (though of course, there is plenty she doesn't know about Willow's world), and gives over her allowance, even stealing a jacket from her uncle to offer her for warmth. Though her uncle is wondering what has been happening with her allowance, he doesn't pry much. But when Christmas comes around and she is told she should be buying gifts from her savings, she panics and sells a set of old lead soldiers from the attic which, come the holidays, turn out to be precious family memories.

As she digs herself deeper into trouble, not through malice but through not understanding, I found myself getting more and more worried for her. She's a character who you care about, because all she wants is the family she loves, and she is trying to get there by doing good so she can get a miracle bestowed upon her. Poor thing. As she becomes more desperate (and I more tense), she finally confronts some of her past and has to come to terms with her new family.

It's a heart-wrenching story, but ends well in the end, when her uncle and aunt come to understand her in a whole new light, and she starts to build some loyalties to her long-lost brother. I do love a good ending, especially when I've been rooting for the main character.

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