Jewel is on the run from an abusive home situation and furtively living at school. After Maya discovers her classmate’s secret, should she tell? Or can she help Jewel on her own?
Thirteen-year-old Jewel has been holding her life together ever since her older sister, Charmaine, suddenly left home with no forwarding address. She tried to find Charmaine once, but that only brought her family to the attention of the police. Now Jewel keeps her head down at school, looks after her special-needs brother as well as she can, and tries to steer clear of her parents and their shady friends.
When her father’s friend comes into her bedroom one night, Jewel finally understands why Charmaine had to leave home. Soon she is on the run herself. When her food runs out, Jewel chances upon a new place to live — the cupboard of the art room at school. It turns out to be surprisingly easy to live under the radar when you have perfected the art of being almost invisible.
That is, until Jewel’s classmates, Maya and Lily, discover her washing her hair in the girls’ washroom at school and making breakfast in the lunchroom. They take her on as their project, finding her places to sleep, fixing her hair and wardrobe — even as they can’t quite understand her terror, or why she is so afraid of seeking adult help. But the girls help keep Jewel and her secret safe — until they no longer can.
Told in the alternating voices of Maya and Jewel, this is a thought-provoking and moving story about loyalty, privilege, keeping secrets, and what it means to be a good friend.
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.
Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.
Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.