Torey Hayden has an instantly likable writing voice and she seems to be a cool free spirit, meaning you are immediately charmed by one of her books.
Ghost Girl begins with an impulsive job application and move to a small town. I found Torey’s interactions with the four children in her care and classroom adorable and, in a few cases, funny too.
Primarily though Ghost Girl is about ‘Ghost Girl’ Jodie, who talks at home but not in school. I liked the steady, and reassuring, way Torey gained Jodie’s confidence and it reminded me of my schooldays and a teacher who took the time, after and during school, to build my confidence and let me talk freely without judgement.
Ghost Girl does not have an ending per se, there is a lot of speculation. I am still re reading the last chapters and trying to understand it. There are many theories to what may have happened to Jodie and her siblings. Is she a fantasist, abused by a satanic cult or has she a split personality?
Mary MacCracken’s books are set in the 70s and in City Kid she is training to gain a teaching qualification so she will be able to continue teaching. Even though by this time she is in her fifties.
I was shocked to read that teacher Lisa sends children out of the classroom, even when they haven’t made a nuisance of themselves, just to keep control of the rest of her class.
Torey’s books are set a bit later on and Casey Watson’s books are the more recent of the three. Casey Watson also had a career as a teacher before fostering full time.
These are all inspiring novels about adults nurturing children with difficulties and who may be in the care system.
In Skin Deep, by Casey Watson, I loved what was written on the first page:
To me, all children are beautiful. I often liken us parents and carers to gardeners. We work with what we are blessed with, and so long as we nurture and tend to our seedlings, and as long as we sort out what is beneath – the tangled roots and weeds that threaten to prevent growth – then we can produce strong, healthy plants: some beautiful flowers, others not so aesthetic, but each with a purpose, and set to flourish and go on to create other life. This is all we can do, and all we need to do.