Praying at the Sweetwater Motel by April Young Fritz

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At first, leaving home in the middle of the night seemed exciting to Sarah Jane, an adventure. It also seemed necessary. Sarah Jane had heard the arguments between her mother and father. She had seen the bruises shadowing Mama's perfectly made-up face. And when Daddy finally turned his anger on Sarah Jane, Mama seemed to wake up and decide that enough was enough. Now they're living at the Sweetwater Motel in Ohio, "The Heart of It All." For Sarah Jane, the adventure is over and reality has set in. Money is tight, nerves are frayed. Sarah Jane misses her best friend, her books, her grandma, the horse she always rode. She even misses her daddy, although she'd never dare tell Mama. As life becomes more difficult, Sarah Jane begins to regret their escape. Can a motel ever really be home? Can they be a family without Daddy?

About April Young Fritz

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April Young Fritz is the author of Waiting to Disappear, her highly praised debut novel. She is a terrific self-promoter, and has her own Web site: She lives in Barrington Hills, Illinois, with her family, dogs, cat, and horses.
Published September 1, 2003 by Disney-Hyperion. 272 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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The first-person narrative is punctuated by prayers to God, an unevenly successful device that nevertheless gives Sarah Jane an opportunity to express her deepest feelings, from fear of her father to embarrassment over having to start school while living at a motel.

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Publishers Weekly

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Sarah Jane Otis, the 12-year-old narrator of Fritz's (Waiting to Disappear) affecting if uneven novel, understands why she, her mother and sister have to leave their alcoholic father and their Georgia home, but that doesn't make the process of resettling in a new state (Ohio) any easier.

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