They appear to be complete opposites. Dess and Hope. And they pretty much are. Dess is constantly looking over her shoulder, worried that one of her mom’s old boyfriends,Eddie, who is locked up, might still find a way to get to her and her mom. Who is also locked up. But who is willing to testify against the “Felon” as Dess likes to call Eddie. Problem is this means that Dess’ mom has to be moved to a different prison. And if Dess wants to be closer to her mom, she has to move too. Into Hope’s family.
Turns out that Hope’s family has been raising Dess’ little brother Austin for a few years, ever since Dess called the police on the Felon for abusing her mom. But Austin doesn’t even recognize Dess, it has been so long, and Dess is in no mood to put up with any of the happiness that seems to radiate from Hope’s family. Hope, who just happens to be the same age as Dess, sees pretty quickly that having Dess as an addition to the family is going to be really challenging. Especially when Dess starts to take over some of Hope’s friends and no one seems to get that Dess is well, pretty awful…at least to Hope she is.
Peas and Carrots by Tanita Davis is realistic look at what happens with older kids and fostering and how foster families and children in the foster system have to remake themselves in different families often.
Recommended for 6th grade and up, because this book should have a wide readership.