"Hunt's writing is fearless and One For The Murphys is a story that is at once compassionate, thought-provoking and beautifully told. From the first page, I was drawn into Carley's story. She is a character not to be missed or forgotten." —Jacqueline Woodson, three-time Newbery Honor author of After Tupac and D Foster
“By the end of this poignant debut, readers will be applauding Carley’s strength.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Readers will be cheering her on.” —Booklist
"This is a beautiful book, filled with hope. You'll cry and laugh along with Carley as she learns to lower her defenses enough to loveand, more surprisingly, be loved. It's a story you'll long remember." —Patricia Reilly Giff, Newbery Honor-winning author of Pictures of Hollis Woods and Lily's Crossing
"Undeniably affecting. Hunt's writing is strong and her characters well-developed and believable . . ." —Publishers Weekly
"One for the Murphys is a riveting story…” —Examiner.com
"This novel speaks to the universal experience of growing up but will especially resonate with readers who have questioned the hands they have been dealt and wonder how to move forward nonetheless." —The Horn Book
"An astonishing debut! Lynda Mullaly Hunt's direct style of writing has readers rooting for Carley Connors and all of the Murphys from start to satisfying finish." —Leslie Connor, ALA Schneider Family Award-winning author of Waiting for Normal and Crunch
“…an incredibly touching novel.” —TheStorySiren.com
“Absolutely astonishing.” —Bookalicious.org
When 12-year-old Carley Conners is put into foster care, she is angry and distrustful of the picture-perfect Murphy family. Carley’s mother is in the hospital after a savage beating by Carley’s stepfather, and while Carley has forgotten some details of that night, she partly blames herself for what happened. Mrs. Murphy works hard to gain Carley’s trust, and Carley comes to love her foster mother deeply. Life with the Murphys contrasts with Carley’s old life of poverty with a mother who often dismantled her confidence. At times melodramatic and perhaps overly emotionally manipulative, Hunt’s debut novel is nothing if not a tearjerker—scenes at home with the Murphy family, as well as those in which Carley builds a tentative friendship at school, are undeniably affecting. Hunt’s writing is strong and her characters well-developed and believable; if Carley’s narration and frequent quips sometimes read as too polished, readers will still be drawn into this story of a girl’s struggle against the ingrained belief that she is undeserving of kindness and generosity. Ages 10–up. Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (May)
"Hunt's heart-wrenching debut believably captures Carley's painful one-step-forward, two-steps-back process, particularly as she acts out in order to protect dealing with her emotions. . . . Carley promises Mrs. Murphy that she'll 'have a happy life someday,' and readers will be cheering her on."
"Carley's struggles with anger, regret, and self-worth both balance and deepen this coming-of-age tale. . . . Speaks to the universal experience of growing up but will especially resonate with readers who have questioned the hands they have been dealt and wonder how to move forward nonetheless. . . . Vacillates between uplifting and heartbreaking as Carley learns to love, be loved, and let go."
"This debut novel holds its own. . . . Affectingly told. Believing that she can, someday, have a loving family of her own . . . makes a different kind of happy ending. Middle grade and teen readers will find this an engaging story."
One For The Murphys is a heart-warming story. Throughout the book it will make readers laugh, cry, and appreciate what is truly important in life. This reviewer enjoyed this book because it emphasizes that, even when it seems like all hope is lost, there is some light to be found. Reviewer: Amber Brown, Teen Reviewer
Carley arrives at her new foster home still wearing her hospital bracelet. No one will tell her what is happening with her still-unconscious mother, and memories of her abusive stepfather make it hard for her to think she will be treated kindly anywhere. She tries to ease her pain by counting steps, counting stripes, counting leaves. Julie Murphy and her husband receive Carley kindly, though, and the two youngest Murphy boys immediately win her heart. The oldest son resents Carley until she teaches him how to improve his basketball playing. Just when Carley begins to believe that she could belong to a real family and just when she realizes that she wants to stay with the Murphys, her mother awakens and calls for her. The plight of the foster child has been done before and done well by authors such as Katherine Paterson and Cynthia Voigt. This debut novel holds its own, however. Through first-person narrative, the author reveals Carley's anger and her determination to hide her fear the way mother taught her. Carley's journey through learning to receive the love of her foster family and then accepting that she must leave them is affectingly told. Believing that she can, someday, have a loving family of her own no matter what she goes through with her mother, makes a different kind of happy ending. Middle grade and teen readers will find this an engaging story. Reviewer: Marla K. Unruh
Sent to a foster home after a beating from her stepfather, eighth-grader Carley Connors learns about a different kind of family life, first resisting and then resisting having to leave the loving, loyal Murphys. Carley is a modern-day Gilly Hopkins, bright and strong, angry and deeply hurt. She's torn between her love for her mother and her memory of the fight that sent her to the hospital, when her mother caught and held her for her stepfather. Her foster-care placement is terrifying. Mr. Murphy, a fire chief, and his eldest son Daniel don't even want her there, and Mrs. Murphy is just too nice. It is 4-year-old Michael Eric and his red-headed brother Adam who first break the ice. Slowly won over at home by the boys' open affection and Mrs. Murphy's patience and surprising understanding, Carley also finds a friend at school in the prickly, Wicked-obsessed Toni. The first-person narration allows readers inside Carley's head as she fights against both showing emotion and her growing pleasure in belonging to their world. There's plenty of snappy dialogue as well. By the end of this poignant debut, readers will be applauding Carley's strength even if they're as unhappy as Carley is about the resolution. A worthy addition to the foster-family shelf. (Fiction. 10-14)