• New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age 2006

  • 2009 Louisiana Young Reader’s Choice Award Nominee

  • NCSS-CBC Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies 2006

Family sticks with family. That’s the golden rule G’ma taught Kendall. But once G’ma’s gone, Kendall has no family left—except for an aunt G’ma asked for at the end, who Kendall barely remembers. Only Aunt Janet knows what G’ ma had in mind, but she never even shows up at the funeral. With child services on Kendall’s case and just 10 days to get her apartment lease renewed, Kendall sets out for Janet’s home in New Orleans to get her life in order—and her questions answered.

But what she finds are new friends, like Evie, who is confined to a wheelchair, but can sing like the women on G’ma’s old records; Miss Clare, who needs Kendall’s help as much as Kendall needs hers; and Marcus, who is younger than them all, but still knows how to get by. And when Mardi Gras arrives, with its parades and prizes and music, anything seems possible—even making a fresh start, with or without Janet.

Somebody’s singing the blues.


“A moving story that rings true.”

–Kirkus Review

“This is a touching novel of a teen left behind by circumstance and a relative who fails her.”

–School Library Journal

“…the warm characters redefine what family means.”


“Smooth dialogue and prescient details… the New Orleans setting predominates: the Café du Monde, shotgun shacks, the Mississippi and Mardi Gras add gritty verve.”

–Publisher’s Weekly

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Publisher:  Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers/Laurel Leaf
Publication Date: July 11, 2006
Genre:  Young Adult, Contemporary
Hardcover: 192 pages
Paperback: 192 pages