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Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite
Just Going by Jianna Higgins is Lily's story. Lily is a 15-year-old girl from a privileged background who gets caught shoplifting cheap underwear. The judge sees through her tough demeanour and awards her 50 hours community service in Sorrento Retirement Home. Not looking forward to it, Lily finds that all of a sudden, she has another chance at life. Coming from a family where her mother wishes she was a boy and has no time for her, and a father whom she never sees, Lily is uncertain how to deal with the sudden influx of attention she gets from people who seem to like her. She makes friends with Alice, who is moving into the retirement home the same day Lily starts. She meets Karen, Alice's mother, and finds in her the mother she never had. She meets Cole, a teenage boy sentenced to community service for breaking a window, although he was having an epileptic seizure at the time and couldn't control himself. She is faced with bullying, something she is used to, but it is here at Sorrento that she learns to deal with life, with bullies and with love. It is through Sorrento that she learns to like her father again and get to know him properly. Could life get any better?
Just Going by Jianna Higgins is a wonderfully told story with several life messages. It's about bullying, it's about learning to love, not just those around you but yourself as well. It's about looking at the hand life dealt you and learning to play it the right way. I was hooked from page one and didn't stop reading until I had taken in every word. It's a really well-written book, in easy to understand language and with a great storyline. I am looking forward to reading other books by the same author, including the other stories in the series.