Providence

Providence

4.2 5
by Lisa Colozza Cocca
     
 

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The eldest of ten children on a dirt-poor farm, Becky trudges through life as a full-time babysitter, trying to avoid her father's periodic violent rages. When the family's barn burns down, her father lays the blame on Becky, and her own mother tells her to run for it. Run she does, hopping into an empty freight car. There, in a duffel bag, Becky finds an abandoned

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Overview

The eldest of ten children on a dirt-poor farm, Becky trudges through life as a full-time babysitter, trying to avoid her father's periodic violent rages. When the family's barn burns down, her father lays the blame on Becky, and her own mother tells her to run for it. Run she does, hopping into an empty freight car. There, in a duffel bag, Becky finds an abandoned baby girl, only hours old. After years of tending to her siblings, sixteen-year-old Becky knows just what a baby needs. This baby needs a mother. With no mother around, Becky decides, at least temporarily, this baby needs her. When Becky hops off the train in a small Georgia town, it's with baby "Georgia" in her arms. When she meets Rosie, an eccentric thrift-shop owner, who comes to value and love Becky as no one ever has, Becky rashly claims the baby as her own. Not everyone in town is as welcoming as Rosie, though. Many suspect Becky and her baby are not what they seem. Among the doubters is a beautiful, reclusive woman with her own terrible loss and a long history with Rosie. As Becky's life becomes entangled with the lives of the people in town, including a handsome boy who suspects Becky is hiding something from her past, she finds her secrets more difficult to keep. Becky should grab the baby and run, but her newfound home and job with Rosie have given Becky the family she's never known. Despite her guilt over leaving her mother alone, she is happy for the first time. But it's a happiness not meant to last. When the truth comes out, Becky has the biggest decision of her life to make. Should she run away again? Should she stay--and fight? Or lie? What does the future hold for Becky and Georgia? With a greatness of heart and a stubborn insistence on hope found in few novels of any genre, Providence proves that home is where you find it, love is an active verb, and family is more than just a word.

"When 16-year-old Becky Miller rescues an abandoned newborn, a nontraditional family is born, attracting other warm-hearted women into its folds. Reading Providence is like cozying up with longtime friends in front of a homey fire." --Sherry Shahan, author of Skin and Bones (Albert Whitman&Co.)

"A beautifully written tale about trying to make the right choice when there might not be one." --Wendy Mass, author of A Mango-Shaped Space (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/06/2014
Sixteen-year-old Becky runs away from her abusive father, eight younger siblings, and a hard life on her family’s South Carolina farm by jumping a train, where she finds an abandoned infant. Becky and “Baby Girl” land in a small town in Georgia, where Becky meets elderly shop-owner Rosie, who immediately gives Becky a job and soon takes her and the baby into her home, too. Becky’s artistic streak, work ethic, and optimism serve her well in the initially unfriendly town—she improves sales at the store and develops a crush on a handyman. But her father’s harsh and cynical words are ever-present in her mind, nosy townspeople suspect that Becky isn’t Baby Girl’s mother, and Rosie’s health fails, causing Becky to second-guess the happiness she’s found. Despite the hardships Becky faces, debut novelist Cocca offers a rosy picture of small-town life, with Becky’s personality and narration bordering on Pollyannaish. Her remarkable and constant luck comes across as unlikely and, similarly, the ending is disappointingly tidy. Ages 14–up. Agent: Karen Grencik, Red Fox Literary. (Mar.)
From the Publisher

"Becky's sweet-as-honey first-person narrative voice suits the dialogue-driven story well--she is an uncomplicated heroine, resourceful and completely without self-pity." --Kirkus Reviews

"Rosie, Becky, and Georgia Rose create a family built of mutual need, love, and kindness in this gentle tale of life in nostalgic small-town America.... Cocca portrays a community of sympathetic characters...who believe in the promise of life's second chances." --Booklist

VOYA, August 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 3) - CJ Bott
Two things stand out about this book: the setting and the main character. Watson’s Grove, Georgia, a small town filled with big-hearted people, is nearly a character itself. After fleeing her home and abusive father, Becky arrives in Watson’s Grove carrying a parcel she discovered on an empty train car she had sneaked onto in her escape: a newborn baby girl tucked into a gym bag. Becky knows about babies, she has just left nine siblings behind whom she had cared for while her mother worked the farm. With the coins she has scraped together, Becky walks into a shop called Second Hand Rose, a place she soon learns to call home. The owner of the shop gives Becky a job and eventually a warm, loving place to live and heal. As the story flows, these three females become a family with Becky discovering how to live outside of the hurt-filled place from which she came. The town people love Rose and that love extends to Becky and little Georgia Rose. As the lies pile up around her, Becky’s past misery is lost in this Mayberry-like setting. Only Becky and her thoughts keep the reader anchored in the pain that has been her life. The author is good at weaving these three together but other characters are nearly stereotypes and the plot is predictable. Though there are hints that this takes place in the present, the author moves the story outside of time. Nearly everything but Becky’s past is too good to be true. The book will appeal to girls who want that kind of escape, particularly if they like bucolic southern towns. Reviewer: CJ Bott; Ages 11 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
2013-12-24
Southern manners abound in this predictable debut, in which a girl on the run takes on an abandoned baby and is helped in turn by an elderly woman who owns a secondhand shop. Sixteen-year-old Becky is a good girl who helps take care of a slew of younger siblings. But when a boy stopping by to see her inadvertently burns down her family's barn, the anticipated wrath of her father causes her to light out—taking with her some meager savings and hopping aboard a freight train, where she discovers the baby. Overcome with tender feelings for the infant, she stumbles into the role of adoptive mom, despite having nowhere to live. While there is plenty of tension to sustain readers, including Becky's worry that others may discover the baby is not her daughter and an eventual bid for the little girl's custody by a local woman who has experienced a terrible tragedy, it feels melodramatic due to the overabundance of coincidences and characters that play to type. Yet, to its credit, Becky's sweet-as-honey first-person narrative voice suits the dialogue-driven story well—she is an uncomplicated heroine, resourceful and completely without self-pity. Teens who take a special interest in realistic fiction may want to check this one out, but its appeal otherwise will likely be limited. (Fiction. 12-16)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781440569289
Publisher:
F+W Media
Publication date:
02/18/2014
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
856,644
Lexile:
790L (what's this?)
File size:
1 MB

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