Carly Connors is a beaten down, jaded, kind of bitter, but truly sweet girl. She’s had a rough life, gone through more than any child should,4.5 stars
Carly Connors is a beaten down, jaded, kind of bitter, but truly sweet girl. She’s had a rough life, gone through more than any child should, and starts off the story by heading to a foster home. These are all things that many middle grade readers cannot relate to, but then we see the kind Carly who has a knack for the sarcastic and who loves making the two little boys she moves in with happy.
Throughout Carly’s time with the Murphy’s, we see every side there is to her: She’s young and vulnerable, so we see her cry; she’s tough and has had to grow up far too fast, so she’s smart and independent; she could easily be closed off because how she’s been treated in the past, but slowly, she opens up. Her relationship with Mrs. Murphy is the backbone of the book and incredibly touching. Carly grows to love this mother figure that she never really had before.
Carly’s relationship with her schoolmate, Toni, has all kinds of wonderful parallels to her own life and teaches her more than one lesson, but it never comes off as preachy. There was not one moment in the book that I could imagine a middle grade reader becoming frustrated with. The pace and the tone of the book remain constant throughout and the entire story comes off as realistic. Toni’s obsession with Wicked is also a nice touch.
Any Bostonian will appreciate the little nods to the Red Sox. I know I enjoyed it, along with Mr. Murphy’s true Sox fan attitude toward the Yankees. His reaction to Toni’s taunting help to lighten the mood. Because with such a deep and emotional subject matter, One For the Murphys does have its tearjerker moments. It would be wise to have a box of tissues handy, especially towards the end.
One For the Murphys is a heartfelt, heartbreaking, subtle, and beautifully realistic show of one girl’s journey from broken home to finding out what family means. The characters have so much depth and readers will find themselves thoroughly attached to Carly Connors and the entire Murphy family. Lynda Mullaly Hunt has masterfully taken the subject of fostering and opened it up to a new audience. Carly’s story has its ups and downs (remember those tissues!), but the ending is perfectly bittersweet....more