Ever since Ana lost her abuela – her grandmother – Ana has been lost in the foster system in California. Her parents were both dead before she was placed with her grandmother, so when she is taken as well, Ana begins to run the gauntlet of Social Services. By the time she’s almost 16, Ana has run out of options. As soon as she thinks things will be okay at a placement, Ana says or does something that gets her kicked out. So as she listens to her social worker tell her she’s at the end of the line, Ana feels a sense of hopelessness.
There is one, final place though, that Ana can be sent before she has to get put in a group home – which she wants to avoid at all costs. It seems a farm up in Northern California is looking for a worker to help them pick their produce and do other jobs. Ana has no experience, but she’s open to try, since nothing else has gone well for her.
Abbie and Emmett – the brother and sister who run and own the farm Ana is going to – have different expectations for their new intern. Emmett is expecting a boy, so Ana is a bit of a shock. Abbie is just hoping that Ana will be what the farm needs to help them get out of the funk they’ve been in for around a year. Ana has no idea that she’s walking into a farm that has secrets of its own, and no idea how she’ll navigate her new surroundings. And what will happen to her at the end of the month when she has to go back to L.A.?
Ana of California by Andi Teran is a story looking at all sides of what it is like to be an outsider trying to find a place in the world. All the characters in this book, not just Ana, are struggling with their own demons and how to move forward after something traumatic has occurred.
Recommended for 8th grade and up.