would do if you found a neglected baby in the home of dangerous man?
You'd probably do just what Percy James did: try to sneak the baby out
of the house and protect her. Although she did the right thing, Percy
could not have predicted the full range of events she triggered when she
headed out into the snowstorm with that child in her arms.
Nine days after Mama disappeared I heard she was throwing down with Shelton Potter. Gentry said she was off on a bad one and wandering around the farmhouse like a goddamn ghost.—Sweetgirl by Travis Mulhauser (Ecco, 2016, p. 1)
Mama bought her booze at Night Moves, where Gentry worked the counter, and he stopped by to tell me he saw her at Shelton's while he was out there delivering a keg.
- Setting: northern Michigan, modern times
- Circumstances: Just as a winter storm starts to build up steam, Percy James heads off to rescue her mother from her latest drug and drink bender. When she gets to the local dealer's house in the woods, she finds him and his girlfriend passed out and a baby girl half frozen in her crib. Percy, unable to drive home, takes the baby cross-country to a family friend's cabin, setting off a deadly game of survival. Battling the elements and bad, bad people, Percy is forced to use all her resources to get the baby to safety.
- Characters: Percy James, a teenager with a good head on her shoulders; Jenna, the baby; Carletta, Percy's strung-out mother; Portis, a family friend who offers help; Shelton, a drug dealer and all-round nasty person; Kayla, the baby's druggie mother; various other people, good and bad
- Themes: survival, family, doing the right thing
- Genre: literary fiction, adventure, thriller
- Thoughts: I'm not sure what I expected when I started this book, but once I picked it it up, I read it all in one go. The characters were easy to envision—to root for or hate—and the pace of the action keep my attention. Although the story is dark, there is a patina of hope, and I even found moments of humor.
- Recommendations: For anyone looking for an action-packed story with believable characters. You'll feel the cold and the fear. You'll hope the good guys succeed and the bad guys get what they deserve. But you'll not be convinced there could ever be a Hollywood ending.