by Tony Abbott
160 pages, General Fiction
Reviewed by bookRacoon

A touching book with some uneasy aspects.


This book is told from the perspective of seventh-grader Tom Bender. The book outlines his memories of when he met and befriended a girl named Jessica. Jessica was badly burned in a fire, and now she has no friends, until Tom. Towards the end of the book, Jessica has to move closer to the city for treatment, and Tom admits that he will never forget her, even though they were friends for only a short time.


Tom's ex-best friend consistently makes fun of Jessica with cruel words. This same friend comes from a broken home where the mom smokes and the dad doesn't want him around.

At one point, Jessica tells Tom that she "hates her mother" with no emotion (it is explained why, though). Tom shows more than kindness, but love to a girl who has had a very rough life.

Spiritual Content

Tom is Catholic, but God is not really a major part of this book's plot.


Jessica was badly burned prior to the story, and a car is torched.

Drug and Alcohol Content

A character's mother smokes.

Sexual Content


Crude or Profane Language or Content

It is mentioned that people curse.


A touching, sad, and a tad disturbing book. It was enjoyable to see Tom reach out to a girl no one really liked and find that she was actually a nice person. It is a little graphic with word-pictures since Jessica was burned beyond recognition. It is not for everyone, especially not very young children.

Fun Score: 3.5
Values Score: 3.5
Written for Age: 11-12

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