Scattered Letters - Reshunniece Kline
Released January 2013
Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth
After her father is murdered and then her mother is found dead, ten-year-old Bellina Al-Asma finds herself heading from Switzerland to New York. In New York, she must live with an alcoholic aunt, Michelle Hosset. Bellina doesn't know she has an aunt, and her idyllic life turns upside down in her aunt's care.
In her new home, she quickly learns that her aunt expects her to earn her keep. Forbidden to attend school, Bellina is stuck in a home she quickly starts to despise. As her aunt drinks excessively, abuses her, leaves messes everywhere, and forces Bellina to then clean up vomit and other messes, Bellina longs for the life she had with her mother and father in Geneva.
Eventually, Bellina starts sneaking out and finds companionship with a neighbor, Ms. Hickens. Soon, Bellina discovers a long-hidden family secret that changes the way she views life and her circumstances.
Scattered Letters is a refreshing story. The writing is fluid and draws you in. I loved the descriptions of Geneva and then the darker, dirtier New York that Bellina meets when she arrives at her aunt's apartment. I didn't find the secret of the letters to be too difficult to figure out, but that didn't matter. I still enjoyed the story. I admit, it's hard to read as Bellina does go through some horrible mistreatment, but stick with it it's worth it.