Samantha Jean Haggert is a beautiful twelve-year-old girl—but no one knows it. All they see is an awkward boy in a baseball cap and baggy pants. Sam’s not thrilled with the idea of hiding her identity, but it’s all part of her older brother’s plan to keep Sam safe from male attention and hidden from the law. Fifteen-year-old Jacob will stop at nothing to protect his sister, including concealing the death of the one person who should have protected them in the first place—their mother.
Sam and Jacob try to outrun their past by stealing the family car and traveling from West Virginia to Arizona, but the adult world proves mighty difficult to navigate, especially for two kids on their own. Trusting adults has never been an option; no adult has ever given them a good reason. But when Sam meets “Jesus”—who smells an awful lot like a horse—in the park, life takes a different turn. He saved her once, and may be willing to save Sam and her brother again, if only they admit what took place that fateful day in West Virginia. The problem? Sam doesn’t remember, and Jacob isn’t talking. (Description provided by Goodreads)
When I finished this book, it was after two in the morning. I picked up the book earlier in the day and sat down to read thinking I’d cook supper and put the kids to bed with no problem. I fooled myself into thinking this could happen. My husband took care of supper and putting the kids to bed, though by that time I’d read far enough into the book to give them both tight hugs that lasted a long time.
Sam’s story broke my heart in a million ways. She had believable flaws and thought like a twelve/thirteen year old girl. I cannot imagine the things she went through, the pain she felt, or the realization of what happened to her, but Angela Scott did a great job of helping me to empathize. I cried a lot reading this book. I laughed out loud and I shook my head and balled my fists. Several times toward the end of the book I stood up and paced unable to believe the incomprehensible behavior of some people… But not because I didn’t believe what I read. I paced because I didn’t want to believe it. I didn’t want to believe that things like this happened, even though I know they do.
I was like Boone and Laura. I wanted to come in and scoop Sam and Jacob up and protect them and help them. Their story sits with me every day. This book was such a beautiful and hard book to read, I didn’t know how to be after I’d finished.
Sam is a little girl who will stay with you and invade your heart. This book will stay with you. I highly recommend you read it, but be warned: there are hard things Sam faces in this book, and Angela Scott did one hell of a job making sure you feel it all too.