This book is for grades 5-9 and I am very grateful to the publisher and Netgalley for allowing me to read it in advance. It will be available to the public on October 3rd.
Nikki Demere is a “throwaway kid” who has been in the foster system since her grandmother died and her father has been in prison. She fully expected her dad to rescue her from foster care, but he never showed up, and the times when she went to foster care, she has been returned. So at the age of thirteen, she is surprised when director Wainwright calls her into her office for a meeting and tells her that she has been chosen to live with a new family. Then, she meets two U.S. Marshalls and knows this is no ordinary family. Nikki becomes part of WITSEC, but not as a witness; she is part of a project to help protect a family in the program from the dangerous Italian mafia-type family that is determined to find and kill them. The Cercatores are looking for a family of three, not four, so Nikki will be there to help the family’s cover and also to help the Marshalls watch out for the family since she is street savvy and has some very unusual talents. So, she and the family study their roles and off they go to Durham, North Carolina to enroll in a new middle school and start a new life. Nikki’s new name is Charlotte (like the spider) and her brother is Jackson. Jackson is a pain in the neck who hates being in WITSEC and does everything he can to make the program self-destruct. Harriet, the mom, and Jonathan, the dad, are typical parents, except for the fact that Harriet’s brother is a mobster who wants her dead. The whole book is a hilarious romp through the eyes of a teen who is determined to save her new family. The stories of bullying and fitting in at middle school are true to life and seem to really represent things that could actually happen with mean girls and curious boys. Middle school readers from grades 5-9 will love this high-interest tale of an unlikely heroine who just wants a family to call her own.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”