Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Just Juice, by Karen Hesse, 1998
Juice Faulstich hasn't been to school in a while, despite the truant officer's best efforts, because she can't get reading right and she hates feeling stupid. Instead she spends her time walking with Pa, who's been out of work for a while and needs comforting. Food and money are lean at the Faulstich home, though Ma isn't, what with the baby on the way, and gestational diabetes this time around. A spare and brief realistic story of renewing hope where there was little to be found. The novel offers its unromanticized heroine a chance at heroism, without Pollyanna-izing the solution to her family's problems. Recommended.