finished reading

This little gem of a novel-in-verse was written by a rising freshman at my school.  I was intrigued to pick it up because I know her family (and her), and I'm so glad I did.  There are rich details and a sense of place and time.  Emma is a sympathetic character.  For a debut work of a fourteen-year-old, it's incredible.

From the publisher:
When her family boards the Pacific (Transcontinental) Railroad and heads for Colorado, eight-year-old Emma Clark isn’t sure what to feel, besides a strange mix of resentment, excitement, and curiosity.

Leaving everything she’s ever known behind in Missouri, Emma is forced to adapt to her new life, while still facing the typical challenges associated with growing up. But just when she believes that she has put her struggles behind her, Emma’s mother dies— and her grief-stricken father disappears from her life forever.

Left alone in the world, Emma (now a young woman) must simultaneously cope with her grief and be able to look past her traumatic childhood to make a life for herself in her still secluded, unfamiliar Colorado town— and discover who she really is when there’s no one else to turn to.

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