Strays Like Us
And since Fred will only be around until her mother comes to grips with her dependence, Fred can't let herself care too deeply. Not about Toby or Margery or Delia, a new classmate whose insistent friendship surprises Fred at every turn. Because the more Fred lets this lovable band of misfits into her heart, the harder it'll be to leave them all behind.
The characters and their realistic, sometimes problematic actions are what make this book. Margery is a great foster parent-- not perfect, but firm and understanding. Fred is not trying to be overly difficult but often makes bad decisions as a reaction to her circumstances. The friendship with Delia is a good one, and Toby's plight is a good parallel to Fred's own. This is the sort of sad book students like, especially since it involves a child their age making very poor decisions but being supported by caring adults. I enjoyed this a lot.
Sensitive readers should know that Delia had a brother who drowned, and her parents didn't really speak to Delia for a year. Also, dog lovers need to be warned that Toby gets hit by a car but lives.