Serena Shaw is finally in the spotlight, but her life behind the scenes threatens to eclipse the on stage drama. Serena got the lead of her school’s version of The Wiz and she should be happy, but she has to raise her own family since her mom died and her Dad came down with the blue. Just when she thinks she can’t possibly handle all the responsibilities in her life she starts to learn that if she trusts other people she doesn’t always have to.
This is a short and bittersweet tale of personal growth and overcoming serious problems, but never feels like a Problem Novel. This is due to Traci L Jones’ excellent understanding of how to sketch characters with just the right few chosen words. Both Serena and her brother Henry are really well realized characters. I liked Serena a lot even though she was often less than likable. People going through serious hardship usually aren’t all that easy to get along with and her move towards opening up felt real, natural, and earned. The book doesn’t give a rosy all-too-perfect ending and strikes the right balance of realism and hope. My only complaints are because the book is so short some plot elements felt rushed and some secondary characters seem shallow. A good read for people that like realistic fiction and want a quick read.