As a foster parent, I know it can be hard to find realistic stories featuring foster kids. Most stories either paint foster kids as juvenile delinquents or as pitiful little angels with a Pollyanna complex. I was impressed and refreshed to find a young adult novel which actually contains a realistic, but lovable young heroine in foster care.
The book, “Good Enough: A Shay James Mystery”, which was written by Brenda McCreight, not only contains an interesting mystery for young sleuths, but it also tells a story that many children share, a history of neglect and abuse. Like many real-life foster children, Shay James spent much of her life with parents who put their addictions before their children. She learned early to fend for herself and to expect her world to change at a moment’s notice.
Just when Shay finally finds some stability, her happiness is once again put at risk by the illegal actions of others. Shay is happy to have found a foster home where she is comfortable, but what truly excites her is the nearby stable where she is able to ride and take care of horses. However, Shay’s world is rocked once again when a crime occurs at the stable. Unless the culprit is found, Shay and her friends are told that they can’t return to the stable. Even worse, the stable owner is now threatening to sell the horses and the stable! Determined to save the horses, Shay and her friends decide to investigate on their own.
Although Shay makes some questionable decisions in the book and finds herself in serious danger, she displays many fine qualities such as resourcefulness, loyalty, friendship, compassion and maturity. By the time the story ends, Shay James has become a wiser teenager who has finally found what she was looking for all along…a place to truly belong.
Although any preteen or teenager would likely find the story appealing, I would especially like to recommend this book to any foster or adoptive children out there. Undoubtedly, they will find that they relate to Shay James in many ways, and perhaps her story will make them feel less alone. Any child who has experienced neglect or abuse should definitely give this book a try as well.