Friday, August 15, 2008

Waiting for Normal

Addie has it tougher than most other kids, that is for sure. Her parents have split, and she is living with Mommers in the trailer that her step dad Dwight has given to them. When you think of trailers, you would probably think of a cute little trailer park with those wind daisies and picket fences? That's what Addie was thinking of when she heard about moving to the trailer. She was quite surprised to see it on an urban corner of Schenectady, with a gas station on one side, and an empty lot on the other. Not exactly paradise.

But Addie is the kind of kid that makes the best of things. She befriends the workers at the gas station (Soula and Elliot), and manages to make some friends at her new school.

She's not too surprised when Mommers starts staying out late. Sometimes she's gone for days, but Addie knows that her mom is working hard at getting a job. It's better than having her in the trailer chain smoking, surfing the Internet or watching Jeannette for the Judgement on TV. Addie also knows how to take care of herself. How to make food stretch. How to fool her Grandpa when he comes checking in.

Every now and then she gets to see Dwight and her half sisters. The thing is, they are all living in a mansion up in Lake George with Hannah. It's hard to Addie to be there for the weekend and then come back to an empty trailer.

Leslie Connor has written a touching story about a neglected girl who gets by. Addie's attitude is almost to good to be true. She rarely gets angry with her mother, even when a big old rage might be good for her. The outer characters of Soula and Elliot are scene stealers and really made this title come to life. I'd love to hang out in their gas station any day!

Waiting for Normal is a moving tween read. Many readers who think that their lives are "too normal" or "too boring" will curl up with this one and end up with quite a lot to think about.

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