Keeping Safe the Stars by Sheila O'Connor
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
So frustrating to read a book that has great potential, but just loses it. Pride, Nightingale and Baby (aka Kathleen, Elsie and Baxter) are orphans who have never known a normal home: first they lived on a commune, Serenity, with their parents, then they were 'in care' and for the past two years they've lived with Old Finn, their grandfather, on his farm, Eden. They've never gone to regular school, and their idiosyncrasies have been indulged by parents and grandfather. Then Old Finn gets sick - very sick - and their world starts to collapse.
So far, so good. Their struggle to keep anyone from finding out that they're home alone and to make ends meet was interesting. The problem comes from two points, the tension the author injects regarding keeping their secret from Thor, the doctor and Nash, and the Nixon resignation. With the former, there are moments when you just know that Thor has figured it out, or when you're sure that the doctor will call protective services to come ASAP, but that tension is handled so oddly that it never reaches the level of "I hope the kids make it!" Nash's appearance is a little scarier, but again it's muted in some ways by the attachment of Baby and Sage, his daughter. The Nixon resignation just felt wrong. I'm not sure why the author felt that this was so important that at times the action needed to stop to bring it in, unless she was really trying stress the "lies get you in trouble" theme (but today's students won't respond to Nixon the way my generation did).
ARC provided by publisher.