By Karin Gillespie
4 out of 5 stars
After an unfortunate accident ends her promising tennis career, Toni Lee Wells goes on a long bender. When she gets arrested a second time, her aunt and father decide to use some tough love. Toni’s family is wealthy and Toni really hasn’t needed to take any responsibility for anything, not her car, her condo, her spending money but that’s all about to change. They cut her off and she has to get a job and keep it for a year. If she does, she inherits 5 million dollars. Easy, right? Not so much. Toni hasn’t really ever worked. She finds a group that sends teachers to much needed schools and since she does have a general degree, she qualifies. Toni does not expect to be sent to one of the toughest high schools around and does not expect to be teaching the special education class to a group of kids who would rather not be there. She also does not expect to fall in love and to find herself change in a truly profound way.
If you are a fan of Karin Gillespie, you will not be disappointed. The story is peppered with her trademark sassy Southern style but it’s also so much more than that. It tackles the corruption in our school system. It tackles interracial dating and the prejudice involved with that still in many places in our country. But the heart of the story is about finding yourself and letting go of things that might hold you back, especially things of your own doing. I loved the characters of Toni and Carl together. I loved how Toni changed as time went on, though I never thought she was a bad person, just a little naive to the ways of the “real” world. And I learned a new word, bastardy. I had never heard it before but I love it!
I happily received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.