Weeks before the beginning of summer vacation, seventeen-year-old Ritzy finds herself living alone in the apartment where she and her mom have been staying for the past three years. Her mom, a free-spirited devotee of holistic living and seeker of self-fulfillment, has taken off for Mexico to train as a life coach through what seems to Ritzy to be one more sketchy organization recruiting gullible people through business presentations at the local airport. Leaving Ritzy with $400 and a wish-you-well-on-your-own-journey message, her mom leaves no forwarding address, and Ritzy has no idea how to get in touch with her.
Because she has only two months to go before turning eighteen, Ritzy doesn’t worry too much about being on her own. She has a job and friends and is heading into her senior year with good grades and a plan for the future. She is also looking forward to her first date with her main crush from school. Someone reports her situation to the local social services department, however, and Ritzy–who has no other known relatives–finds herself being placed in a foster home about ninety minutes from her hometown, where she discovers that her “new” foster mother had cared for her from the time she was six months old until she was two. Lots of surprises and changes follow, including adjusting to a two-parent traditional family lifestyle (and a wealthy one at that), learning how to navigate different social strata, making new friends, finding work, unraveling the mystery of her childhood placement, and making choices about which Ritzy she wants to be as she moves forward into official adulthood.
There are first-time romances, conflicts with parents that are resolved in a positive way, growth evidenced by all the main characters, and, in general, a happy story filled with good outcomes.
Offensive language consists primarily of hell, damn, dick, ass (and its various iterations), goddammit, shit and an occasional fucking. Sexual references are pretty nonexistent except for one comment about “boning” and Ritzy’s predilection for bodice-busting paperback romance novels (that are not described in detail).
Categories: Body Acceptance, Differently Abled, Diversity, Dysfunctional Relationships, Indian-American Culture, Navigating through High School, Offensive Language in YA Literature, Parent Conflict, Peer Relationships, Summer Camps