Crossing the Tracks by Barbara Stuber
This beautifully written book captured my interest from the very beginning. Fifteen-year-old Iris has been living alone with her withdrawn, widowed father since her mother died of tuberculosis ten years ago. The year is 1926, and they live in a small town named Atchison in Missouri. When her father decides to open another shoe store in Kansas City, instead of taking her as Iris expected, he arranges to have her become a caretaker for an elderly woman for the summer, and doesn’t even tell her about it until the last possible minute. As far as Iris is concerned, he’s just getting her out of the way so he can spend the summer with his latest empty-headed girlfriend, Celeste.
To Iris’ surprise, Dr. Nesbitt and his mother turn out to be kind and caring, traits she hasn’t felt in her own family since her mother died. Altough this is a quiet story, it is beautifully told, with a few subplots (pregant teen neighbor, first love) to keep readers engaged along the way. What I particularly liked about this book was it’s questioning about what really makes a family–blood, compassion, or deep caring about one another.