Setting: Philadelphia, Present Day
Genre: Teen Fiction, Young Adult Fiction
Eighteen-year-old Angel Ferente practically raises her younger sisters for her drug addict mother and cruel stepfather. At the same time, Angel tries to make it to every swim practice and meet and keep her job at a local laundromat. Things start to escalate as Angel's mother becomes more absent and uncaring. When Angel disappears, her swim team friend, Alex, and her younger sister, Jeannine, narrate the events before and after the disappearance.
Watermark bounces between the past and present, going into Angel and her sister's time as they are removed from their grandmother's care and forced to live with their mother and her new husband. It's quickly clear how rough these girls have it, especially as their family unit grows. With each new addition, Angel's responsibilities also increase. She's soon trying to balance school, raising her younger sisters, and keeping up with her responsibilities at work and with her swim team. It's often painful to read about just how much this teen has to do.
I know there is a lot of truth to this story. I've seen things like this play out in the news. It's no less heartbreaking, however, to watch the mother's spiral and Angel's issues with having to become the mother figure to three girls, all while also trying to be a teenager.