WHEN THE ROAD ENDS

From the book:

"In the winter when I was twelve, Adam Correy came to stay in the Percys' house with Jane and me. He was fourteen, and he had never lived with a foster family before. I could see that he'd decided he wouldn't like it.

"'This isn't a bad place,' I told him that first rainy afternoon when we were alone in his second-floor room.

"He tossed his head, flipping back his straight blond hair so that he could stare at me. But he didn't say anything. After a long moment, he turned away and pulled clothes from the plastic bag he'd used as a suitcase.

"'This is yours,' I said, pointing to the small chest of drawers that Father Matt had painted tan, like the walls.

"Adam shot another look at me, over his shoulder. 'I know that.' he said.

"My mouth had gone dry. 'I was only making conversation.'

"'Well, quit it,' he said. He stuffed his clothes into the top drawer and banged it shut."

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There were three of them: stubborn, sensible Mary Jack, rebellious Adam, and the tiny, fragile girl who refused to speak, even to say her own name. And well-meaning Matt Percy and his nervous wife, Jill, were meant to be "parents" to the three. But like many foster families, this one didn't seem to be working out very well. Adam was defiant and determined to make trouble. Mary Jack tried to smooth things over, but deep down she wished Adam would just go away. Mary Jack had been in too many different foster homes already; she'd rather stay with the Percys than chance another one. And the tiny girl - the social workers had given her the name Jane Smith when they found her, silent and battered, on the freeway - drew more and more into herself.

These three, and an unexpected companion, band together to forge a solution to their very different problems and to join, as Mary Jack says, in an "absolutely perfect family."

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