Joan’s neighborhood is filled with kids of all ages, but even her closest friends don’t know how violent Joan’s dad is, or how difficult it is for her to navigate the troubled waters of her home life. Joan becomes adept at reading her dad’s mood, and trying to prevent him from inflicting harm upon her mom. But, time and again, her dad succeeds in his mission. As the violence escalates, Joan is plagued with the constant fear that her mother may die. Repeatedly she asks the same questions: why is her dad so violent and why can’t he be stopped? Throughout the course of her childhood, several heroes enter Joan’s life. Readers will cheer for each as they offer Joan gifts of validation, acceptance and hope.
Joan’s exceptional yet frank storytelling brings the reader directly into her home, providing unembellished awareness of the multiple issues that encompass domestic violence. The Best Girl is a story of resilience and survival and, as the book concludes, readers are left with feelings of possibility and hope: it appears that sixteen-year old Joan is going to make it.