Ritzy’s life has always been a bit unpredictable, but she never expected her mother to just abandon her right before the end of high school. Not quite old enough to look after herself, Ritzy is thrust into the foster care system and placed with a woman who, unexpectedly, has a history with Ritzy and her mother.
I must get this out of the way immediately: My overall reaction to this book was disappointment. I love Morrill as a writer, and for a really big chunk of Ritzy’s story, I loved this book as well. Morrill captures so well the nuances of a girl who always lived in poverty and her first experiences with a wealthier lifestyle. There was a lot of wonderful, multilayered discussion of family, foster care, and class, and the characters were well-drawn.
[I can’t really say the rest without going into spoilers, so read on only if that doesn’t bother you.]
The ending of this book really bothered me. Ritzy’s relationship with her best friend is left mostly in tatters, with a hurried patch-up and no real understanding or growth on Ritzy’s part. The Ali plotline is mostly left alone, a messy situation that comes in at the end and isn’t really dealt with. And the situation with Spenser, who is a complete a-hole and not worth Ritzy’s time, is given a free pass so that the two can get together. I just didn’t buy their romance, which is odd as Morrill usually does a phenomenal job at the romance part of her books. And with so many other interesting things in the book, the romance feels like a side plot that could have been left out. Actually, it felt like the romance was the reason behind every other plot point at the end – the best friend story, the Ali story, even where Ritzy ends up in terms of the foster care situation. For me, the romance being the impetus for it all feels like it’s sending the wrong message, especially as Spenser really was an a-hole. I would have loved for Ritzy to dump his a$$, make her decisions without even thinking about him, and patch things up with her real friends, rather than basically shoving everything aside for a boy. Hence, my disappointment.
I’ll of course continue to read Morrill’s books! I tend to super-love every other one, so maybe the next one will be perfect for me!