A young girl lands in a New York juvenile detention facility when foster home placements don't work out and her parents abandon her. Ten-year-old Porsche is doing an eight year sentence in a New York juvenile delinquency facility. She lives on a ward for violent girls. In and out of foster homes where she was not treated as a member of the family, Porsche has survived beatings by one foster mother, and being starved in another placement. Unsure of where her parents were taken once the cops showed up and shut down her father's (Ricky Santiago) drug business, Porsche lives everyday with one goal, freedom.
Her older sister Winter, hasn't called or visited and Porsche has no idea what fate has befell her twin seven-year-old sisters. Survival on lock-down is hard, the girls on the inside hate Porsche for her long hair and airs that come with being the daughter of a drug lord who controlled whole neighborhoods. Porsche refuses to eat the institutional food, and exists instead on the sugar she sells the other girls through boxes of candy and chocolate. She finds herself placed in solitary with no clothes and only a hard floor for comfort. The fights that she gets in result from refusing to be jumped by the girl gangs. To keep her sanity Porsche keeps up with her dance training. Often this happens with the aid of the music that she plays in her head.
Porsche hooks up with an older girl of fourteen. Riot, runs one of the many girl gangs at the center. Her parents were killed protecting their marijuana farm and Riot was placed into the custody of the State of New York. Her twin brother Revolution, was either on the streets fending for himself, or he too had been locked away into the system as payback to his parents. Riot and Porsche escape during an annual dance where the girls are allowed to visit with family, and eat “outside” food like potato chips and cake. The dance gives the girls once chance per year to feel like normal kids. Porsche and Riot escape in the event port-a-potties and head to a friends of Riot's parents who resides on an reservation. Nana Anna teaches Porsche to cook with organic vegetables pulled from her garden, and Porsche learns how to pick strawberries earning a few pennies for each full pint size container. Wandering too far from the small area she has been relegated to on an old bicycle provided by Nana Anna she passes out.
Black-outs are not new to Porsche, but she wakes up in an unfamiliar space with a young couple who live on the reservation a tree-house. She doesn't know it upon waking but she will dance with them as they perform at various venues. Her goal, to make it back to the city where she has left $5,000 of gift money buried under a tree in her backyard. After a tumultuous start, she and Riot arrive to find the Santiago family home with a new family living inside. The guard dogs and locked gate make it impossible for them to complete their money finding dig.
Porsche makes the rounds of her old neighborhood in search of information regarding her parents whereabouts. Her father is doing a ten-twenty year bid, her mother once beautiful is now a wasted crackhead. The twins are in foster care. Winter, having followed her father's footsteps into the illegal drug trade, is doing a fifteen-year stretch.
Determined to find her mother, Porsche befriends the owner of a corner store where her mother “works” from time to time. She cleans, makes delicious and healthy sandwiches and ears a hundred dollars a week. Big Johnnie, is not fond of her mother so Porsche lies and says that her “aunt” is having a hard time adjusting to years of bad situations. Working for Big Johnnie allows Porsche to stay in the run down basement. Her mother is there on and off and as soon as Porsche helps her with one thing her mother begs money to get high disappearing for days at a time. Porsche decides enough is enough and plans a drug intervention to tying her mother up inside of their underground home and helps her to detox.
Riot has been working her own plans for the future and Porsche reminds her that the money buried in the ground at her family home is theirs to split so that Riot can flip it and increase their coffers. They return and are successful at grabbing the money. The dogs have put inside due to a bad thunderstorm. This gives the two escaped juveniles an opportunity that may not present again. Porsche has to deal with the fact that her parents have both abandoned her. One for the streets, and the other for the big house.
Ricky Santiago doesn't write or call, ever. Winter, has turned back too, deciding the best way to do time is to cut family ties. The twins have been adopted by Winter's now straight ex-boyfriend Midnight has changed religions and has three wives, all who treat the twins very well. Midnight, arranges a meeting between the twins and their estranged sister (Porsche) who has worried herself sick not knowing they were safe (and perhaps, better off) all along. They were very young when the family home was raided and have adjusted to living in Africa. A trip back to the states is something they do to please their adopted father, sadly they really don't know Porsche anymore.
Porsche is very independent for a little girl, she meets Elisha in a upscale organic market when searching for spices to create a specialty dish Big Johnnie. Learning to cook from Nana Anna keeps paying off. She and Elisha connect, he's only fourteen, but knows where he is headed. He wants to direct movies. The son of parents who enjoy the fruits of their education with professional careers they support Elisha in his endeavors. Porsche gets discovered and is invited to do a European dance tour showcasing her cultural and beautiful style of dancing. She's managed to keep her virginity and while Elisha misses her, she only contacts him every now and then. When they re-connect it is obvious that fourteen-year old Porsche and sixteen-year old Elisha are in love. They get married with the blessing of Elisha's parents as his first film (independent) receives rave reviews.
Soon after marrying, Porsche is pregnant and Elisha uses a portion of his earnings to buy the brownstone next to his parents. The family is now growing with love and creativity at the root. Porsche is released from the guilt of moving on without her blood family by starting over with the love and support of a husband and in-laws that have her best interest in mind.
Best part of story, including ending:
I disliked Porsche's irresponsible and misguided parents.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was when Porsche and Elisha marry
Opinion about the main character:
I liked most, Porsche's ability to keep her mind in tact when so much of her world was insane.
Lizzy on 3/30/2015 9:01:31 PM says: Hold up, Midnight was gay? And when did he become Winter's ex bf? Did I miss that part of the book?