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After 10+ students begged me to read this book, I finally gave in. I was hesitant because I loved Mullaly Hunt’s other novel, Fish in the Tree, so much. I’m not sure if I was afraid of dethroning the beloved Fish or of spoiling my love of Mullaly Hunt’s writing, but One for the for the Murphys did neither. Not bad, but not excellent – not boring, but not truly engaging. The story follows Carley’s time as a foster child with the Murphy family, an all-American family brimming with picturesque and predictable love. Carley follows the stereotype of fictional characters in the foster system to a T – tough, brusque, quick to anger and to run, slow to love but hiding a heart of gold. The Murphy family is slightly quirkier, but each character felt like they were following a formula. Carley’s complicated relationship with her mother is a bright and sincere spot, but mom’s character also left me disappointed. The novel’s conclusion left me sniffling, when it could have left me sobbing. Nothing ground-breaking here, but an upper-grade or middle school read that students really seem to enjoy.
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