Eleven-year-old Gilly Hopkins has had to develop a tough exterior to protect her from life’s blows. Gilly’s mother, Courtney, has left the bright, angry heroine of Katherine Paterson’s The Great Gilly Hopkins in foster care. Gilly only knows how to reject others as she herself has been rejected, fighting and acting out in various ways at home and school. But when she is placed in a new home with foster mom, Maime Trotter, Gilly encounters a relentlessly tough lady who will not put up with the girl’s racism and abuse of her other foster child. Gilly also discovers that her new teacher sees through her behavior, which is disconcerting indeed. Gilly later steals money to buy a bus ticket to San Francisco so that she can join her mother there, though her plan fails, and eventually Gilly is sent to live with her grandmother. As she leaves, she recognizes that life with Maime Trotter was actually not so terrible. Katherine Paterson, best known for her lovely Bridge to Terabithia, is the master of creating realistic fiction that sparkles with heart and warmth, giving readers a glimpse into a world where happy endings may not abound, but characters are given the opportunity to grow in the face of adversity.