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Waiting for Christopher

Review

Waiting for Christopher

Feena Harvey is 14-years-old, new in town and bored to tears. She and her mother Lenore have just moved from Connecticut to Florida, looking for a fresh start in a new place. Unfortunately for Feena, not much has changed --- she still has no friends, "too much red hair," and the palest skin possible on a human --- not a good thing in Florida. As Feena waits for her new life to begin, she passes the time sitting in her mother's car with the air conditioner running and reading her favorite novel, JANE EYRE, over and over. Just when she thinks she's doomed to spend the rest of her teenage years in an '89 Chevy, she witnesses something that will change her forever --- across the parking lot next to her house, Feena sees a young mother verbally and physically abusing her toddler son. This is not the first time she's seen these two --- Feena witnessed the same scene played out just days ago and hasn't stopped thinking about how she should have intervened. When the mother turns and walks away from the boy, leaving him alone in the parking lot, Feena seizes the opportunity and snatches him.

Knowing full well she'll eventually have to turn the child, Christopher, over to the authorities and tell them what happened, Feena can't help but want to give Christopher one day of peace and happiness. When that day passes and there is still no sign that the neglectful mother has even reported her son as missing, Feena decides that Christopher's mother must not want him back and decides she'll care for him indefinitely. With the help of an unlikely partner in crime, popular classmate Raylene Watson, who stumbles upon Feena's secret by accident, she is able to keep Christopher hidden away --- until the day another child in the community turns up missing. Fearing that the police might get the wrong idea if they turn in Christopher now, but unwilling to return him to his abusive mother, the girls struggle with themselves and with each other over what they'll do with the little boy they've grown to love.

WAITING FOR CHRISTOPHER is a heartbreaking novel that doesn't shy away from the tough issues but tackles them head-on with honesty and unflinching realism. The scenes depicting Christopher's abuse may be somewhat difficult for readers to witness, but those who can stick it out are rewarded with a fragile and well-crafted tale of friendship, responsibility, and loyalty.

Reviewed by Melissa Morgan on April 1, 2002

Waiting for Christopher
by Louise Hawes

  • Publication Date: April 1, 2002
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick
  • ISBN-10: 0763613711
  • ISBN-13: 9780763613716