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From the Publisher:
Lilli Clarke. They call her the marked girl. Beginning at her left shoulder, a pink birthmark tracks up her throat just past her jaw, like a finger pointing to her brain. Abandoned by her family, she is ostracized by everyone but her grandmother and cousin Bert, Six years of dust storms have left sixteen-year-old Lilli close to death with dust pneumonia. Now she must leave the only real home she’s ever had, or risk death when the next storm hits.
Lilli is sent to her aunt and cousins in Florida to recover. The possibility of a different life presents itself, yet circumstances snatch it away, and she flees to New York City. Unable to find a safe place, she yearns for the storm ravaged home she left. All doors appear to be closed to her, and she resigns herself to the lonely fate of a marked girl. Once again, she is close to death, this time with no one to help her. Will this storm prevail, or is there a new answer for Lilli?
The obvious storms of the Dust Bowl era in US history, the burden of a dysfunctional family and emotionally frail mother, topped by a prominent, distracting mark, Lilli has always believed the worst of herself and coincidental events, despite a loving grandmother and neighbor. The depths of superstition and despair brings out the depravity of people, and Bolton shows us no mercy. Lilli winds her way through too many unfortunate events starting with family members who take her in and try to help, and ending broken and living on the streets of a merciless New York City. Lilli is broken before realizing she's always been loved, most of all by the Father who never leaves us, and a neighbor who never gives up.
Lovely tale. Deeply emotional. Satisfying.