HomeBooks by AgeAges 9-12One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt | Review

One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt | Review

Elizabeth Varadan | The Children’s Book Review | May 20, 2013

OneForTheMurphysOne for the Murphys

By Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Age Range: 10 and up

Hardcover: 224 pages

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books, An Imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. (May 10, 2012)

What to Expect:  Foster homes, coming to terms with the past, accepting love, discovering strengths, trusting the future

When Carley is placed in a foster home, she resists her foster mother’s warmth. Mrs. Murphy is too good to be true: she seldom scolds her three sons, she kisses hurts to make them well, she tells them how special they are. She bakes pies and frosts cupcakes, and plans meals around their favorite foods. Carley is used to eating out of soup cans. No one has ever told her she’s special. She’s in a foster home after her stepfather’s beating left both Carley and her mother nearly dead. Her last memory is of her mother holding her ankle so she couldn’t get away.

Mrs. Murphy takes Carley clothes shopping to help her fit in at her new school. Carley is used to clothes shopping during late-night visits to Salvation Army drop boxes. The Murphys give Carley her own room. She remembers sleeping in the bathtub when her mother had parties. Mr. Murphy talks baseball with Carley and is the first adult man she’s been comfortable around. Even though Daniel, the oldest boy, is jealous, the two younger boys love Carley. All of this kindness is too much to bear.

The author does a stunning job of showing internal hurts that make abused children fear and resist love. In the Murphys’ nurturing home, Carley blossoms emotionally and comes to terms with the idea that she is worthy of love and able to give it as well. There are heart-rending and heart-warming moments in this fine book. Carley, with her tough survivor’s humor and quick wit, has an authenticity that engages a reader at once. Carley’s evolution from victim to creator of her future is both realistic and inspiring.

“She turns to me and looks sad, and I want to be able to freeze everyone else in time and ask her why. Because I’m a liar? Or because she’d like me to be her daughter? Or because the thought is so terrible that it makes her cry?”

This book will appeal to girls 10 years old and up who like tough heroines and value a story that wrestles with tough issues.

Add this book to your collection: One for the Murphys

One for the Murphys was reviewed by Elizabeth Varadan.


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Elizabeth Varadan writes for children and adults. Her middle-grade mystery, Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls (published June 15, 2015), is set in Victorian London and she is currently working on Book Two. Varadan loves to read and write about the Victorian Era and blogs about the many things she uncovers in her research. Visit: <a href="http://elizabethvaradansfourthwish.blogspot.com">elizabethvaradansfourthwish.blogspot.com</a> and <a href="http://victorianscribbles.blogspot.com">victorianscribbles.blogspot.com</a>

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