What I carry

Jennifer Longo

Book - 2020

"Growing up in foster care, Muir has lived in many houses. And if she's learned one thing, it is to Pack. Light. Carry only what fits in a suitcase. Toothbrush? Yes. Socks? Yes. Emotional attachment to friends? foster families? a boyfriend? Nope! There's no room for any additional baggage. Muir has just one year left before she ages out of the system. One year before she's free. One year to avoid anything--or anyone--that could get in her way. Then she meets Francine. And Kir...a. And Sean. And everything changes."--Amazon.com.

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Subjects
Genres
Domestic fiction
Novels
Published
New York : Random House [2020]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
322 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780553537710
0553537717
9780553537727
0553537725
Main Author
Jennifer Longo (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Found in a hospital lobby as an infant, Muiriel has only ever known life in the foster system. Soon, she'll be 18 and free from Child Protective Services, but her habit of moving from foster family to foster family could sabotage her. This time, she's determined to stay, but to do so, she'll have to learn to trust others and let them in. The narrative is solidly written and contains a series of anecdotes about items Muiriel has taken from each of her foster homes, which helps to illustrate her character. Further character development is interestingly tied to lessons on famed mountaineer John Muir, whose life acts as a foil to Muiriel's. Some elements of the novel, including bully antagonists and an incident with the foster family dog, are formulaic and tropey, but the strength of the plot and prose overall make these shortcomings easy to dismiss. Longo's (Up to This Pointe, 2016) novel is a rare and conscientious look into one experience of foster care that will linger with readers. Grades 8-11. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

Found in a hospital lobby as an infant, Muiriel has only ever known life in the foster system. Soon, she'll be 18 and free from Child Protective Services, but her habit of moving from foster family to foster family could sabotage her. This time, she's determined to stay, but to do so, she'll have to learn to trust others and let them in. The narrative is solidly written and contains a series of anecdotes about items Muiriel has taken from each of her foster homes, which helps to illustrate her character. Further character development is interestingly tied to lessons on famed mountaineer John Muir, whose life acts as a foil to Muiriel's. Some elements of the novel, including bully antagonists and an incident with the foster family dog, are formulaic and tropey, but the strength of the plot and prose overall make these shortcomings easy to dismiss. Longo's (Up to This Pointe, 2016) novel is a rare and conscientious look into one experience of foster care that will linger with readers. Grades 8-11. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Having grown up in foster care, Muiriel—"Muir"—is good at packing. Per writing by her namesake, John Muir, she carries the bare minimum, and following 20 placements, has folding down to a science. After one more year, she'll be 18 and out of the system. In an effort to have some control over her life's uncertainties, Muir has also mastered keeping people at arm's length by being helpful, staying out of trouble, and keeping her grades up. She's not so good at making friends, trusting people, and talking about her feelings. But her new placement, a ferry ride away from Seattle on Bainbridge Island, stands to play havoc with all of that. Her new foster mother is smart and kind, and Muir makes a real friend, gets a job that she loves, and meets a boy who really likes her. But Muir, used to packing emotionally lightly as well, will have to make changes to be able to let people in. Longo (Up to this Pointe), a foster and adoptive parent, wrote the book for her adopted daughter, who wanted a "hopeful, happy" tale; she provides it—and the book, well-written and heartfelt, is a pleasure. Ages 12–up. Agent: Melissa Sarver White, Folio Literary Management. (Jan.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 7 Up—Soon-to-be 18-year-old Muiriel (Muir) has been in Seattle's foster care system since infancy. Moving to her final foster house before aging out, she knows exactly what to do: keep her head down, don't get attached, and pack only what she can carry. When Muir's new housing situation starts to feel like a real home, she must figure out if some things she carries are okay to let go. This novel begins as the story of a teen girl in the foster care system that blossoms into a book full of diverse stories on tough topics. Muir's experience in lifelong foster care has led to attachment issues, but other characters have their own baggage to share. Her best friend, Kira (who is of Japanese descent), is bullied in school and is healing from her family's history of being prisoners in internment camps. Zola, Muir's former foster sister, is moved back and forth from foster homes to her family and faces prejudice as a black child in foster care, which is highlighted alongside Muir's experience as white child. An author's note provides more resources on the foster system and how the author's experience inspired this story. VERDICT Well-researched and thoughtful, this novel packs a lot into its emotional yet humorous story. Add to collections for fans of Emery Lord and Sara Zarr.—Anna Taylor, Darien Library, CT Copyright 2019 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"In her final year in foster care, seventeen-year-old Muir tries to survive her senior year before aging out of the system"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Entering her final year before being released from the foster-care system, a teen who has avoided emotional attachments forges unexpected bonds with three classmates, including a boy who changes her perspectives on everything. By the author of Six Feet Over It. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"A deeply touching story about survival, hope, and love." --Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in PiecesFor readers of Robin Benway's Far from the Tree, a powerful and heartwarming look at a teen girl about to age out of the foster care system.Growing up in foster care, Muir has lived in many houses. And if she's learned one thing, it is to Pack. Light. Carry only what fits in a suitcase.Toothbrush? Yes. Socks? Yes. Emotional attachment to friends? foster families? a boyfriend? Nope! There's no room for any additional baggage.Muir has just one year left before she ages out of the system. One year before she's free. One year to avoid anything--or anyone--that could get in her way.Then she meets Francine. And Kira. And Sean. And everything changes.