Winner of the Edgar Award!
Careful planning and constant control is Claudine's protection. Order is her weapon. She's long buried her own needs and dreams to cover for her alcoholic mom. But when Mom suddenly disappears-another alcoholic binge?-seventeen-year-old Claudine finds herself all alone, and a much darker reality emerges from beneath years of angry denial and enabling behavior. And as the truth comes closer to the surface, Claudine must dig for the answers she's always worked so hard to cover up.
Claudine's mother has disappearedagain. It's likely she's gone off with her new boyfriend, but wishfulthinking has Claudine telling everyone that her alcoholic mother hasentered a rehab program. But as the days pass, there are hints thatsomething more sinister has happened. Why are Claudine's nails so oftenrimmed with dirt? What made the stain that Claudine can't get out ofthe carpet? Who filled the black garbage bags with her mother'sclothes? Always her mother's little helper, Claudine obsessively cleansher trailer home and compulsively organizes her days in an increasinglyfutile attempt to hide the emotions and things she's covered up for solong. Her life is falling apart fast. She can't think straight. Hergrades are dropping. And her chance at a college scholarship is goingto be lost. This is a fast-paced story that will keep readers turningthe pages to find out what really happened on the night Claudine'smother disappeared, and an authentic portrayal of the damage done byalcoholism.