Summary (from Goodreads):
“For sixteen years, Daisy has been good. A good daughter, helping out with her autistic younger brother uncomplainingly. A good friend, even when her best friend makes her feel like a third wheel. When her parents announce they’re sending her brother to an institution—without consulting her—Daisy’s furious, and decides the best way to be a good sister is to start being bad. She quits jazz band and orchestra, slacks in school, and falls for bad-boy Dave.
But one person won’t let Daisy forget who she used to be: Irish exchange student and brilliant musician Cal. Does she want the bad boy or the prodigy? Should she side with her parents or protect her brother? How can she know when to hold on and when—and how—to let go?”
I really enjoyed this novel. Daisy has always been the good child—really, the easy child—since her little brother has autism. And her brother is mostly non-verbal and has a tendency to become aggressive (harming himself and others) so her parents really rely on her as another caregiver for him. (As a result, she’s basically the third adult in the house, as opposed to one of the two children.)
When her parents decide to institutionalize her brother, she freaks out. It’s not even that she necessarily thinks it’s a bad idea—it’s that she hates the fact that they’re asking her opinion. (I think it’s that she doesn’t want to be at all responsible for Steven being sent away. She wants the decision to be entirely out of her hands…which it should be, really, since she’s just a kid.)
And now that she DOES have more freedom—no more babysitting three nights a week—she starts to behave like a normal teenager. She stays out late and starts dating a “bad boy” who she’s known essentially her whole life.
Even when I didn’t really agree with her choices, it’s impossible not to root for Daisy. This is a fantastic novel and I can’t wait to read Stasia Ward Kehoe’s next book. Recommended.