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3.52  ·  Rating details ·  82 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Fifteen-year-old Calli has just about everything she could want in life—two loving moms, a good-looking boyfriend, and a best friend who has always been there for support. An only child, Calli is excited when her parents announce that they want to be foster parents. Unfortunately, being a foster sister to Cherish is not at all what Calli expected. First Cherish steals Call ...more
Paperback, 198 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Milkweed Editions (first published January 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  82 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Sep 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
I really liked the idea and the plot in Calli. Calli's problems with her foster sister Cherish are a good main plot - that's an original idea and interesting to read about. The family dynamics are interesting to read about too - characters with gay parents are something I'd really like to see more of in YA. Calli's problems with her boyfriend, Dub, and best friend, Delia, are pretty average but could have added some nice layers to the story. Other than the plot, though, I didn't really like Call ...more
Crystal ✬ Lost in Storyland
Jun 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-copy
Read my review at Imaginary Reads!

Calli is a refreshingly realistic YA novel about a fifteen-year-old misfit who has two moms, wears size thirteen, and has a foster sister who acts mean to her outside of the house. Yes, Calli’s mom is a lesbian, but the story doesn’t center on the issue of Calli having to deal with lesbian issues herself. While she is teased for supposedly being lesbian herself, she has a loving boyfriend and loves him back. At least, until she sees him kissing her foster sister
Dec 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
A lot of things in the story didn't work for me. I found the first person present tense jarring in this book, as so much got tangled up in back story. There's a lot going on -- Calli's mother has Lupus and she's a lesbian and her parents foster kids and one of the foster kids is a bad seed and Calli's existence is based on a one-night stand so she has some repressed father issues. But that's not where the story begins. It begins when Calli's foster sister kisses Calli's boyfriend. It stumbles ou ...more
Fictional Bookshelf
May 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-books
Calli is truly an amazing heartwarming story. I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading the story but right from the beginning I was sucked in.

I’m afraid that Calli’s fictional life is realistic for several youths of today. The emotional pain a teen can suffer because of family issues, teasing by peers, and the cruelty of those who bully is cleverly written by Jessica Lee Anderson, the author.

Calli, the main character, sheds light on what goes through teens’ minds when certain things
Jun 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011, big-kahuna
Ages 11+ (swears are truncated by cutting off the speaking character, but it's obvious that they're swears, foster siblings talk about abuse and neglect)

Interesting, but not 100% engaging, this reads more like a problem novel from the early 90's than a nuanced, layered look at life with two moms and foster siblings.

I did like it, perhaps because I grew up on the problem novels of the late 80s and early 90s, but I don't know how teens today will respond. While I think it will be excellent for bi
Jun 06, 2011 rated it liked it
I would only recommend this book for teens who are secure and confident, because Calli isn't. The story is a touching portrait of an unusual family (two moms, a daughter, and two foster children) and the struggles they go through with a difficult and manipulative foster daughter named Cherish. Cherish and Calli are constantly at odds, with Calli usually playing the victim, and then blaming herself for everything that goes wrong. Even later in the story, when Cherish is held accountable for her a ...more
May 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I loved this book so much. As always, Jessica's writing is incredible, but I really found myself falling in love with her characters. The main character, Calli, has two moms, which I think is awesome. I'm so glad to see more books exploring this. Calli has a foster sister that she never really gets along with. She opens her home to her sister, but not her heart. I think we've all been in similar situations, and I think Jessica portrays this story beautifully. It comes out in September, scoop it ...more
May 19, 2011 added it
Highly recommend this very engaging & insightful story about a teen learning to cope with friends, love, & her nontraditional family.
Jun 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This novel felt like a YA story crossed with literary fiction, which basically means that Jessica Lee Anderson creates a complex heroine who struggles to stand up for herself and in the process makes a mistake that she cannot easily undo. Her teenage angst about her two mothers, her body, and her boyfriend feel real--uncomfortably real--as does the way things do not wrap up neatly in the end. I felt like I was watching a slice of real life and not reading a novel.
Ellen Dreyer
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I got caught up in this story of a 14-year-old girl grappling believably with body- and self-image, being teased (and worse) for having 2 moms, and especially with a moral dilemma involving Cherish, the foster child who comes to live with her family.

The one thing that I didn't like so much was the voice. It just seemed flat to me, and made Calli seem older than her years.
Aug 18, 2011 rated it liked it
I was drawn to this book because its synopsis makes it sound so intense and palpable. Unfortunately, the book just didn't live up to the synopsis or my expectations. I expected more gut-wrenching drama, more teenage rebellion, more realism, just more more-ness. But what I got, was a relatable, yet somewhat boring, look into the mind of 15 year old Calli.

This is not an issue book, although it covers a wide variety of issues (abuse, sexuality, bullying, body image), it does not preach to readers a
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Book Review
Lauren H.

I have read quite a few books in my lifetime, and I’m going to be honest, I’m not the easiest person to please. However, one book in particular made me look at a certain genre in a whole new perspective. The book, Calli, by Jessica Lee Anderson would have to be one of my favorite books. It hooked me from the very first first page, and I just couldn’t put it down. This book had a special quality that intrigued me more than most other books I have read. That is… drama.
In “
Jul 23, 2012 rated it really liked it

I don't feel that this cover, does the story inside justice. Yeah, were not suppose to judge a book by it's cover, but were all human and it's what we do.

First entering the contest to win this book, I wasn't really sure what Calli was, I never heard of it before than. But I'm always open to trying new things.

When the book arrived and I saw the cover, I wasn't really sure if I still wanted to read it. It really didn't pull me in; it just wasn't anything too special or fancy. Giving it a ch
May 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Originally Posted at:

**This Review is based on an ARC (Advanced Reader's Copy). The final cover and text are subject to change.**

Calli was a short YA contemporary novel, which is refreshing after reading all those paranormal books! It's an amazing coming of age novel, and the emotions and problems faced in this book are all very realistically written.

I could totally relate to Calli's feelings, Anderson has written a very REAL character. There was flaws, a
Dani Peloquin
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
Every now and then I love to lose myself in a good young adult novel. I feel like it keeps me in tune to what teens are worrying about these days and it also brings me back to those high school years. While most everyone disliked high school, it is fun to read about other people’s fictional struggles. It is for this reason that I picked up a copy of Calli. I enjoyed the read even if it was a bit boring and stilted at times.

Calli is a high school student who has a perfect life, from the outside.
Jen  Bigheart
Aug 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Being a foster sister to Cherish isn't exactly going to Calli's plan. There doesn't seem to be much lovey-dovey bonding time when you're too busy searching for your stolen stuff in your foster sister's room. To make matters worse, Cherish is a liar and master manipulator. She regularly pits Calli's moms (yes plural) against her, and now she has her sights on her boyfriend Dub. Calli takes matters into her own hands, and soon their small family begins to crumble. Calli and Cherish both learn that ...more
Jade Eby
Aug 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
Originally published at my blog Chasing Empty Pavements

The Good: Okay first off, I loved that the parents in the novel were lesbians. There are not many novels where the parents are gay and it's always saddened me that there isn't more of a presence for them in novels. I thought that the author did a great job navigating both the positive and negative aspects of gay parents. I also thought Anderson's treatment of the two foster children were pretty believable. I like that she had one character t
Book Twirps
Aug 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Fifteen-year-old Calli’s world seems to be falling apart. She just saw her foster sister, Cherish, kissing her boyfriend, Dub, in the hallway at school, and Dub didn’t even try to push her away. Things haven’t been going well since Calli’s two moms brought Cherish into their home, and to make matters worse, they are looking at bringing in yet another foster child. As tension between Cherish and Calli rises, so does the tension between Calli’s two moms as they struggle to keep peace in the house, ...more
May 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Calli is a coming of age story about a fifteen year old girl. Calli is trying to get through high school while avoiding the teasing resulting from having two moms. She's also trying to get along with her foster sister, Cherish, who has a penchant for stealing Calli's things, including her boyfriend.

The first thing I noticed about Calli was that the story was refreshingly realistic, though at first that meant the plot fell flat with useless details like what characters ate for breakfast. Things p
Jess (Gone with the Words)
Read this review on my blog! --> Calli by Jessica Lee Anderson

What I really appreciated about Calli was the realistic view into a loving, unconventional family. Calli has two moms who love her and who are also very passionate about foster care and adoption.

When we meet Calli, we also meet her foster sister, Cherish, who is at that moment kissing Calli’s boyfriend. Things go from bad to worse from there. Cherish has been making Calli’s life hell from the moment she joined her family, but she feel
Jac (For Love and Books)
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, fiction, netgalley
I just finished reading Calli by Jessica Lee Anderson, and it was an excellent coming of age novel! I found it to be a more realistic read than many YA books seem to be.

Calli is about a 15 year old girl who is living with her two Mom's, a foster sister and a Dog named Sassy. She is dealing with fairly average problems for a teen today. Boy trouble, the struggle to be the perfect size, and seemingly relentless teasing from other kids at school. Throw in her unusual home situation, and the mass am
Aug 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: review-books
This cover is fine. I enjoy how the letters in the title have some design to them. I don’t know the technical term for this, but I like the look of it. I actually really do enjoy the bottom of the cover, but the top of it I am sort of indifferent about. I think this must be because that is not how I pictured Calli... at all.

The story was interesting, yet I couldn’t bring myself to be completely invested in it. I think I was expecting a story that would tug at my heartstrings a bit more than Cal
Jessica Cicoria
Aug 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Calli, by Jessica Lee Anderson, is a fantastic YA (focus on the ‘Y’) novel about growing up. Calli is a self-conscious fifteen year old girl who is faced with pretty unusual situations in an otherwise usual setting. In addition to dealing with standard teen struggles, like friends and boyfriends, she also has to learn how to cope with a new foster sister and the stigma of having two moms.

Anderson does a very convincing job of voicing Calli through the slightly immature and insecure way she reaso
Lorettajo Kapinos
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
For a complete writer's review, please visit my blog at

Calli overall was a book I liked, but didn't love. I'm disappointed because I really, really wanted to love it. The concept was sort of interesting to me: two moms and a teen with a foster sister. What a great idea! But, overall, I felt the novel really lacked the magic it needed to make me fall in love with it. On the plus side, I didn't hate it. I think maybe it could be enjoyed by many. I'd especially
Kristin (Kritters Ramblings)
A definite young adult book where I felt as though I wasn't quite the target audience. Some young adult books can be read by adults and adults can get some enjoyment, but this one just wasn't it. With simple language and simple characters, this book was just ok for me.

Calli is a young woman who has two moms and definitely not the conventional home life. Her biological father isn't in her life and her moms have recently decided to start fostering children, so she a girl move in who is the same a
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Calli has a pretty good life. She lives with her two Moms, has a cute boyfriend, and a great best friend. When they become a foster family to Cherish, a teen with a troubled past, life gets chaotic. Cherish kisses Calli's boyfriend, and rather than deal with her feelings, Calli retaliates and does some hurtful things too, and things spiral out of control.

I really enjoyed this quick read by Jessica Lee Anderson, one of the authors coming to ATBF 2012. The book deals with some difficult topics an
May 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-reads
This is a great coming of age book about a young girl named Cali. She is seventeen and lives with her two moms who think she is the greatest thing. Cali doesn't think so, she is fat and not pretty, at least that is what Cali thinks. She has a great boyfriend, Dub, who thinks the opposite. A bestfirend who isn't always there for her when she needs her most. A foster sister who she wishes would just leave.
Through out this book Cali realizes how wonderful and important she really is. In the end fig
Aug 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen, tween, abuse, family
Calli and her two mom's are inviting a foster sister into their lives. Anderson captured the feelings of a young teen perfectly; the excitement of a new sister turning into the bewildered frustration of realizing that this person is not going to fit the mold that was in her mind. The change in family dynamics and the maturity that Calli gained from the experience despite the embarrassment of realizing her mistakes all struck home. Great book and would make a great addition to a foster family rea ...more
Cory Oakes
Aug 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Calli was a wonderful book! I was immediately comfortable with the main character's perspective - I felt like I had known her for years and I really empathized with her angst. At the same time, I also sympathized with the other characters - even Calli's tormentor - which I believe was very deftly done on the author's part. This is a remarkable coming-of-age book which I hope my daughter will read when she is a teenager. ...more
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Three quarters of Calli was very, very good and well worth reading. The last quarter of the novel felt a little trite, but still made for a good book with solid writing (and Calli's newest foster brother Lemond is well worth meeting). I highly recommend Calli.

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I was born in Phoenix, Arizona, although my family didn't stay there long.

My father served in the Air Force and we soon moved to Texas. Honolulu,
Hawaii was our most exotic station. I'll never forget the excitement of
winning a hula competition. Those who know me now would never guess I
had that kind of coordination.

When we moved back to San Antonio, Texas, I missed the Aloha State, but
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