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Samara Taylor is the fifteen year old daughter of a pastor workaholic and a mother who has been drinking so much, that she has landed herself into New Beginnings Recovery Center; her father wants to “officially tell” the congregation when he feels it is right, which is never. Sam is at a point in her life that she is questioning everything; the air conditioning is broken in their house, her ceiling fan is not working, it is the middle of a heat wave, the outside of the house looks like a disaster, all the while her father plunges himself into his congregation while Sam’s world is falling apart. Sam has been the one who has seen her mother drink because of the stress of being a pastor’s wife. Since Sam is the pastor’s daughter, she is part of the youth group and she is afraid of sharing, thinks she might be depressed, and is questioning why now that she is in high school, she is not feeling the understanding, friendship and bonding that she grew up believing existed in her community. Just as Sam is at her lowest, Jody Shaw, a sweet thirteen year old, disappears and the whole town is rocked to the core. There are searches in fields, house to house, and suspicions about suspects begin to permeate throughout the town. As Sam worries about what once was lost, she is also determined to talk to her mother in rehab, bring her home, and faithfully work on a family unit. This is a story of a young teen able to weather an internal storm of doubt and emerge a more secure, stronger daughter and friend. Students will love Zarr’s masterful storytelling, she weaves an engrossing tale of love and the power to heal.

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