Publication Date: April 12, 2011
Summary from Goodreads:
After her veterinarian dad dies, sixteen-year-old Iris Wight must leave her beloved Maine to live on a North Carolina farm with her hardbitten aunt and a cousin she barely knows. Iris, a vegetarian and animal lover, immediately clashes with Aunt Sue, who mistreats the livestock, spends Iris’s small inheritance, and thinks nothing of striking Iris for the smallest offense. Things come to a head when Iris sets two young goats free to save them from slaughter, and an enraged Aunt Sue orders her brutish son, Book, to beat Iris senseless - a horrific act that lands Book and his mother in jail. Sent to live with an offbeat foster family and their "dooking" ferrets, Iris must find a way to take care of the animals back at the farm, even if it means confronting Aunt Sue. Powerful and deeply moving, this compelling novel affirms the redemptive power of animals and the resilience of the human spirit.
My Two Cents:
Wow this was such an emotional and heart-wrenching story! We meet Iris who's father just passed away. She begins living with her best friend Beatrice and her family until they decide that it just wasn't working out. Her only family besides the mom that left her is her Aunt Sue and cousin Book. Aunt Sue is abusive and just plain mean. Book is not so bad but with a mother like Sue who could really blame the way he behaves?
Even though Iris is afraid of Aunt Sue she stands up for what she believes. She's a vegetarian and no matter how much Aunt Sue shoves the meat in her face she refuses to give in. The only thing she likes about living there is all the animals. She loves the goats especially and has names for them. I, for one am not a big animal lover but I truly cared about these goats as well. The author gives Iris such a innocent but strong voice that makes us root for her the whole time. When Iris is beaten senseless by Book for letting the baby goats go she doesn't recoil and hide herself from the world like a victim. She stands up and does what she has to do for the animals...even if that means going up against Aunt Sue. I truly enjoyed this novel from beginning to the end. I recommend this for ages 14 and up.