Second Chance Sunday – One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Before I started this blog I used to review books for Michelle over at Galleysmith. Michelle has taken a break from blogging, but you will see her pop up on here from time to time talking books with me, and since I loved it so much I started this bad boy. Anyway, when I was blogging on her site, I was asked to review today’s Second Chance Sunday(original review post) and I thought I would share with my ABCers.

 

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Title: One for the Murphys [Amazon]
Author: Lynda Mullaly Hunt [website]
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Genre: Contemporary Middle Grade
Source/Type: Publisher/ARC
Stars: 4 out of 5

Publisher’s Description:
A moving debut novel about a foster child learning to open her heart to a family’s love

Carley uses humor and street smarts to keep her emotional walls high and thick. But the day she becomes a foster child, and moves in with the Murphys, she’s blindsided. This loving, bustling family shows Carley the stable family life she never thought existed, and she feels like an alien in their cookie-cutter-perfect household. Despite her resistance, the Murphys eventually show her what it feels like to belong–until her mother wants her back and Carley has to decide where and how to live. She’s not really a Murphy, but the gifts they’ve given her have opened up a new future.

My Thoughts:
I was asked to read this book and review it by the author and I must say I’m very happy I was because I never would have picked it up otherwise. I would have missed a great story about a young girl finding out who she is and that’s okay to let people in and trust them. I would never have known just how strong Carley Connors was even at a mere 12 years old.

One for the Murphys is about Carley Connors, a 12 year old from Las Vegas, that lived with her single mom.  Although they live pretty inconveniently Carley felt both secure and loved with her mom. It wasn’t until Dennis came into the picture that things changed. Carley didn’t trust her mother’s new husband and she isn’t quiet about it. So when the family moves to CT and things take a turn for the worse causing both Carley and her mom to end up in the hospital Carley is thrust into the foster care system. A family of Murphy’s take her in and show her what a family is and what love is really like changing the endearing 12 year old forever.

I really enjoyed Carley as a character. She was really likable and relatable. After reading what she went through that caused her to end up in the hospital you could understand why she was so closed off emotionally from strangers. She refused to trust and I couldn’t blame her. She was just a scared kid and all she wanted was to be with and be protected by her mom and she wasn’t. Being with the Murphy clan, Mrs. Murphy and the two youngest boys in particularly, let Carley really grow and blossom. She was an angry little girl with a hard shell to crack so it was enjoyable to watch the boys and Mrs. Murphy do just that.

Honestly Carley’s relationship with Mrs. Murphy was my favorite part of the book, save for the Red Sox stuff ;-). No seriously through I loved the dynamic between these two characters. Mrs. Murphy never stepped over her boundaries even when she wanted to and she never pushed Carley into doing something she wasn’t comfortable with. She was the best kind of support Carley could have and watching Carley open herself up to this stranger that became like a mom to her was both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Without trying too hard she brought Carley out of her shell and made her believe in herself and to see how strong she really was even if she did get emotional at times.

What I didn’t like in this story was Carley’s mother. I found her incredibly selfish and immature. Carley wasn’t her daughter, she was one of her possessions that she wanted to hold on to and control. She wasn’t a good mother by any stretch of the imagination. Did she love her daughter? No doubt, but that isn’t all there is to the patent child relationship. Carley needed consistency and stability and he never gave that to her. And don’t even get me started on what lead to the two of them ending up in the hospital. Her mother’s actions, although explained, we’re vial to me and unforgivable. She was by far the worst part.

With that said One for the Murphys is really a fantastic read about love and understanding and finding out who you are. I know it is for middle school age, but I’m not so sure a ten year old should read it with the talk of domestic violence. I would really go with 14 plus, but that’s just me. Definitely a powerful debut by Hunt and I hope to read more by her in the future. Pick it up and see what you think yourself.

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