by Heather Gudenkauf
Veteran social worker Ellen Moore has seen the worst side of humanity; the vilest acts one person can commit against another. She is a fiercely dedicated children's advocate and a devoted mother and wife. But one blistering summer day, a simple moment of distraction will have repercussions that Ellen could never have imagined, threatening to shatter everything she holds dear, and trapping her between the gears of the system she works for.
Meanwhile, ten-year-old Jenny Briard has been living with her well-meaning but irresponsible father since her mother left them, sleeping on friends' couches and moving in and out of cheap motels. When Jenny suddenly finds herself on her own, she is forced to survive with nothing but a few dollars and her street smarts. The last thing she wants is a social worker, but when Ellen's and Jenny's lives collide, little do they know just how much they can help one another. (Description from Goodreads.com)
I've never read anything by this author before...I was a little nervous because I knew it had to do with a terrible accident. I tend to "read" happier audio books when I can because I end up crying as I drive in the car and then I end up at work all gross-looking, LOL. This book, though, was a little less traumatic than I'd expected and well worth the listen.
At first, the two tales, Ellen's heartbreaking accident putting her daughter in mortal danger, and Jenny's sad attempt to survive the streets on her own when her Dad goes to jail, don't seem to have anything connecting them other than a common location. Then as Gudenkauf starts to weave things together, more and more pieces fall into place, bringing readers into one large and satisfying story. Even though horrible things are discussed and happen throughout, both Ellen and Jenny find that there IS good in the world and the people around them. There is a heartwarming sense of hope that pervades the book and when things conclude, I was smiling through my tears.
I look forward to reading more of Gudenkauf's books eventually.
Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for AudioFile Magazine, Signed copy received from author at 2014 BEA