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One for the Murphys - Lynda Mullaly Hunt I was asked to read this book and review it by the author and I must say I’m very happy I was because I may not have thought to pick it up otherwise. I would have missed a great story about a young girl finding out who she is and that’s okay to let people in and trust them. I would never have known just how strong Carley Connors was even at a mere 12 years old.

One for the Murphys is about Carley Connors, a young girl from Las Vegas who lived with her single mom.  Although they live pretty inconveniently Carley felt both secured and loved by her mom. It wasn’t until Dennis came into the picture that things changed. Carley didn’t trust her mother’s new husband and she isn’t quiet about it. So when the family moves to Connecticut and things take a turn for the worse, landing both she and her mom in the hospital, Carley is thrust into the foster care system. A family by the name of Murphy take her in and show her the true meaning of family and what love is really like.  This inevitably changes her forever.

I really enjoyed Carley as a character. She was endearing; very likable and relatable. After reading what the experience that landed her in the hospital I could understand why she was so closed off emotionally from strangers. She refused to trust and I couldn’t blame her. She was just a scared kid and all she wanted was to create a family (one that she felt safe and protected in) with her mom.  Unfortunately, that did not happen. Thankfully, being with the Murphy clan, the Mrs. and the two youngest boys in particular, let Carley grow and blossom. Starting out as an angry little girl with a hard shell made it enjoyable to watch the boys and Mrs. Murphy soften it enough to crack through.

Honestly, Carley’s relationship with Mrs. Murphy was my favorite part of the book, save for the Red Sox stuff .  No seriously through I loved the dynamic between these two characters. Mrs. Murphy never stepped over her boundaries even when she wanted to and she never pushed Carley into doing something she wasn’t comfortable with. She was the best kind of support Carley could have and watching her open up to this surrogate mom was both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Without trying too hard she brought Carley out of her shell and made her believe in herself and to see how strong she really was even if she did get emotional at times.

What I didn’t like in this story was Carley’s mother. I found her incredibly selfish and immature. Carley wasn’t her daughter, she was one of her possessions that she wanted to hold on to and control. She wasn’t a good mother by any stretch of the imagination. Did she love her daughter? No doubt.  But that isn’t all there is to the parent/child relationship. Carley needed consistency and stability and she never gave that to her. And don’t even get me started on what lead to the two of them ending up in the hospital. Her mother’s actions, although explained, we’re vile to me and unforgivable. She was by far the worst part.

With that said One for the Murphys is really a fantastic read about love and understanding and finding out who you are. I know it is for middle school age, but I’m not so sure a ten year old should read it with the talk of domestic violence. I would really go with 14 plus, but that’s just me. Definitely a powerful debut by Hunt and I hope to read more by her in the future.