Synopses & Reviews
At fifteen, Iris is a hobo of sorts -- no home, no family, no direction. After her motherand#8217;s early death, Irisand#8217;s father focuses on big plans for his new shoe stores and his latest girlfriend, and has no time for his daughter. Unbeknownst to her, he hires Iris out as housekeeper and companion for a country doctorand#8217;s elderly mother. Suddenly Iris is alone, stuck in gritty rural Missouri, too far from her only friend Leroy and too close to a tenant farmer, Cecil Deets, who menaces the neighbors and, Iris suspects, his own daughter. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Iris is buoyed by the warmth and understanding the doctor and his mother show her, but just as she starts to break out of her shell, tragedy strikes. Iris must find the guts and cunning to take aim at the devil incarnate and discover if she is really as helplessand#8212;or as hopelessand#8212;as she once believed. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Lyrical, yet humorous, Barbara Stuberand#8217;s debut novel is the unforgettable story of a girl who struggles to cast aside her long-standing grief and doubt and, in the span of one dusty summer, learn to trust, hope, andand#8212;ultimatelyand#8212;love.
"In this quiet yet resonant debut novel set in 1920s Missouri, 15-year-old Iris is sent to spend the summer in the country to be a companion to elderly Mrs. Nesbitt. Iris lost her mother at age six and was brought up by her distant father, a shoe salesman who is 'a detail man in every way except one--the details of me.' Initially indignant that she will be sent away while her father plans his wedding to a woman who Iris regards as shallow and grasping, Iris soon finds Mrs. Nesbitt and her physician son Avery to be sensitive, wise, and compassionate mentors as she experiences first love and a new tragedy. Mrs. Nesbitt is grieving her other son who died in WWI, and she and Iris learn to dust their 'cellar of ghosts,' freely expressing their deepest emotions to one another. A secondary plot about an abused girl is somewhat melodramatic, but readers will recognize, in Iris's story, the vicissitudes of coming-of-age and appreciate the depiction of a surrogate family that provides a warm and safe haven. Ages 12 up. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
* "Stuberand#8217;s tender, evocative style aptly portrays both the evil and the good while remaining emotionally true. . . . [A] noteworthy debut." --andlt;bandgt;andlt;iandgt;KIRKUS, andlt;/iandgt;starred reviewandlt;/bandgt;
In Crossing the Tracks, fifteen-year-old Iris Baldwin discovers what makes a true family.
Fifteen-year-old Iris Baldwin is stuck in the middle of 1920s rural Missouri, where she discovers that hobo is short for homeward bound, and cultivates an eccentric cast of folks into family, creating the home she's never had.
At fifteen, Iris is a hobo of sortsno home, no family, no plan. Her mother died when she was six, and her father has decided his new girlfriend and his shoe business are more important than his daughter, so he hires her out as a companion to a country doctor's elderly mother. Stuck in the middle of 1920's rural Missouri, Iris cultivates an eccentric cast of folks into the family she never had and cautiously opens herself to love. But when she learns that a neighboring tenant farmer has had more than his hands on his pregnant daughter, Iris intervenes to save the girl and her unborn baby. She also learns that hobo is short for homeward bound, and that maybe she can create the home she has never had.
Beautifully realized characters and settings sprinkle a plot that has just enough humor, warmth, and tear-jerking drama, including a lovable stray dog who ends upthat part really is a tear-jerker.
At fifteen, Iris is a hobo of sorts—no home, no family, no plan. Her mother died when she was six, and her selfish father hires her out as a companion to a country doctors elderly mother. Iris, stuck in the middle of 1920s rural Missouri, discovers that "hobo" is short for "homeward bound," and cultivates an eccentric cast of folks into family, creating the home she never had. But when she learns that a neighboring tenant farmer may have had more than his hands on his pregnant daughter, Iris must intervene to save the girl and her unborn baby.
The many facets of what makes a family are illuminated with warmth and charm in this beautifully crafted tale.
About the Author
Barbara Stuber is the author of the novels andlt;i andgt;Girl in Reverse andlt;/iandgt;and andlt;i andgt;Crossing the Tracksandlt;/iandgt;, which was a finalist for the American Library Association William C. Morris Debut Award, a YALSA Best Fiction for YA and a Kirkus Best Book for Teens. When not writing, she is a docent at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. Visit Barbara online at BarbaraStuber.com.