Victoria Parker knew her dad’s behavior toward her was a little unusual, but she convinced herself everything was fine until she found herself locked out of the house at 3:00 a.m., surrounded by flashing police lights. Now, dumped into a crowded, chaotic foster home, Victoria has to tiptoe around her domineering foster mother, get through senior year at a new school, and somehow salvage her college dreams . . . all while keeping her past hidden. But some secrets won’t stay buried especially when unwanted memories make Victoria freeze up at random moments and nightmares disrupt her sleep. Even worse, she can’t stop worrying about her stepsister Sarah, left behind with her father. All she wants is to move forward, but how do you focus on the future when the past won’t leave you alone?
“…none of us can understand what’s going on in another person’s life from the outside looking in. No one can really see the quiet you carry, unless you let them.”
Wow! Wow! Wow! This was a super powerful story about a teenage girl with a troubled past and her experience in a foster home. The time that Victoria spent in Spring Valley living in a foster home with Connie her “AKA foster mother”, was some of the worst and later… best times in Victoria’s life.
There, she felt alone, betrayed, scared, and confused. First, her beloved mother dies of cancer. As a promise to her mother, she vowed to take care of her father. But, how could her father do this to her?
Now…he marries Tiffany and she has a younger step sister Sarah. So, why doesn’t anyone believe her? Why didn’t anyone stick up for her? The night that changed her life forever is the opening scene of the story. I felt Victoria’s grief as she stood outside on a winter night only in her pajamas. Thrown to the curb. Literally! What will her life become?
I started this book one evening and flew through the fist half. The next evening I finished the second half in the wee hours of the morning. Nikki Barthelmess did a fantastic job of making me feel part of this story. I was invested in Victoria’s life and the choices she made… so much so, that at times I had to put the book down to catch my breath.
It’s heartsteakingly painful to know that children are shuffled around, mistreated, and uncared for all the time. It’s a cruel world sometimes. Reading about the hardships of children in foster care is difficult. When it’s a happier ending, it makes it slightly easier to digest. It’s obvious that Nikki brings a level of experience to her writing in this subject and imbedded in this story is Victoria’s story. A genuine, real, more-common-than-people-think kind of story! Grab your tissues.
Nikki Barthelmess is a journalist published everywhere from lifestyle blogs to survivalist magazines. She entered foster care in Nevada at twelve and spent the next six years living in six different towns. During this time, Nikki found solace in books, her journal, and the teachers who encouraged her as a writer. A graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, Nikki lives in Los Angeles with her husband and her pride-and-joy corgi pup. The Quiet You Carry is her debut novel.