Melinda Jensen left home at seventeen to make her way to San Francisco, the city of freedom and acceptance. What she found was a bench on the street to sleep on, and that's where Henry finds her. Henry is able to offer Mel the one thing she craves the most deeply. She's never had a real family, only a mom who wasn't all that interested in being a mom, and her mom's boyfriend who molested and berated her most of her life. Henry takes her in, brings her to his home, introduces her to her new "sisters," one of which becomes her confidant, her comfort, and her legs to stand on. How would Mel survive without them?
But Henry has more grand powerful plans in this world than just being a father, brother, and lover to Mel and her sisters. And when Mel is included in on a murderous plan, she becomes more and more confused about what it means to be part of a family.
The language of family is gorgeous, and the book is based loosely on the Manson Family murders of 1969. The story is told in episodic verse, tying in elements of poetry with pure emotion, and the characters are purely original. The format and the topic are sure to draw in the interests of a broad variety of high school readers.
Reviewed by kate the librarian.