Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Birthday Girl by Diane J. Wright

Birthday Girl: a NovelSynopsis from back cover: Sixteen-year-old Tracey Burns has been confined to a single room for two years. One night, amid chaotic spring winds, she slips to freedom and inadvertently sets herself on a journey that takes her further away from the one thing she wants most: to find the mother who left her behind.

Determined but starkly naïve, Tracey plunges into a harsh and confusing world where she is no more than a headline, a case file, another ragged face on the side of the California highway asking for change. It's only when she stumbles upon an enclave of irrepressible epicureans tucked in the flatlands of the Mojave that she begins to uncover the truth of her world, of herself, and of her missing mother.
My thoughts: When we first meet sixteen-year-old Tracey she is running away from her father’s house, where she has been held captive for two years. She doesn’t really understand why she is running or where she’s going.

As the story goes on we learn more about how Tracey was held captive. Her mother, Adele, had left her at Roy’s house and told her to be good until she came back to pick her up. But Adele never came back. Even though Adele abandoned her, Tracey doesn’t want to believe that her mother has forgotten her. She believes that one day Adele will go back to Roy’s house looking for her, because of this belief, Tracey spends the rest of the story trying to find a way back to Roy’s house where she can wait for her mother.

Tracey is taken in by child services and is sent to a foster home. She seems to be fitting in nicely, but then one night there is a fire and the house gets destroyed. When Tracey is in hospital she meets her new case worker, Liam. Gradually Tracey starts to trust Liam, and believes that he is going to help her find her mother. Liam sends Tracey to another foster home, and tells her not to blow it because it’s her last chance before being sent to Camp Carillo, a lockdown for girls, in the middle of nowhere.

Tracey seems to start enjoying her life at Mrs Finn’s house; she even makes a friend, Frankie, who later sets of a chain of events that lead Tracey into even more trouble.

I really loved this story, from the very beginning I was sucked in. It’s one of those books that I couldn’t put down until I’d finished it. Tracey is a very loveable character, she starts of naïve and a bit simple, but she grows up and learns a lot as the story goes on. All the characters in the book are well-written and all have personalities that are very real. I also think the ending of the book was done very well.

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