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I was incorrect when I wrote that The Very Worst Thing was Hayden’s first novel. That was her first novel for kids. The Sunflower Forest was actually Hayden’s first novel. It’s set about 25 years after WWII. 17 year old Lesley has always been a caretaker for her mother. Her mom suffered at the hands of the Nazis in Germany, and was never able to fully recover. When her mother sinks further into mental illness, Lesley’s dad seems unable to acknowledge the seriousness of the condition and ask for help. Eventually, tragedy strikes, and the family must cope with the results.

I hope that Hayden sticks to stories about her students. This book was OK, but I probably wouldn’t have finished it, if I hadn’t enjoyed Hayden’s other books so much.

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