In her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott says, “For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

My hope is that this is what books become to you—as important as almost anything else on earth. This blog is about helping you find the miracle in these small, flat, rigid squares of paper while you are in middle school and beyond. Once you read alongside me, you are forever a member of my tribe of readers. No matter how you old you are, when you need to be reminded of the power of a good story, you will find me here, waiting to place one in your hands.

Monday, July 9, 2012

ONE FOR THE MURPHYS by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

copyright date: May 2012
primarily marketed for: intermediate readers (5th grade and up)

I sort of expected One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt to be one of those overly sappy books with unrealistic, sickeningly sweet characters.  However, although the storyline might make it sound sappy, the characters are realistic and dynamic. 

After a traumatic incident that lands both she and her mother in the hospital, Carley Connors is taken away and placed in foster care with the Murphy family.  The only life Carley has known is one of put-downs, food scraps, and shopping for clothes in Salvation Army drop boxes.  Until she meets the Murphys.  The Murphys are too good to be true: Julia, the mom, happily makes home-cooked meals for her three boys and firefighting, sports-loving husband.  In fact, Julia isn’t even rattled by Carley’s rough around the edges attitude. 

At first, Carley despises the Murphys and the way they make her feel inadequate.  She doesn’t feel like she deserves to live with them.  However, as time goes on Carley starts to connect with each member of the family and with her true self. 

Will Carley ever be able to face her mother and their old life together after having tasted what a loving, stable family has to offer?  Read One for the Murphys to find out what happens to Carley when it becomes time to move on. 

Reading Threads:


  1. This is next for me, so I won't read your review yet, Christy. I've heard good talk about it!

  2. Hi!

    Thanks for mentioning my novel, WAITING TO FORGET, as part of the "Reading Threads" for ONE FOR THE MURPHYS. I read the latter and really enjoyed it, and I do think it'd be a great book for kids and teens to read along with the other books you suggested. Mine is a bit darker than Carley's story and has a different, but hopeful, outcome. My husband and I adopted six of our seven children so this topic is close to my heart. Anyone who's interested can find a "book trailer" for WAITING TO FORGET on YouTube.

    I'm a former teacher, and I think it's great that you are helping your students (past and present) find books that they will enjoy reading. Keep up the good work!


  3. I've been hearing so much about One For the Murphys-it's already on my TBR list, but I'm thinking I need to move it up some. :)

    Waiting to Forget sounds good, too!


  4. One for the Murphys is a wonderful book, it really tells the meaning of a family. The characters all seem to connect with Carley in some way, and I'm glad I found this book.