Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review: One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

One for the Murphys A moving debut novel about a foster child learning to open her heart to a family's love

Carley uses humor and street smarts to keep her emotional walls high and thick. But the day she becomes a foster child, and moves in with the Murphys, she's blindsided. This loving, bustling family shows Carley the stable family life she never thought existed, and she feels like an alien in their cookie-cutter-perfect household. Despite her resistance, the Murphys eventually show her what it feels like to belong--until her mother wants her back and Carley has to decide where and how to live. She's not really a Murphy, but the gifts they've given her have opened up a new future.

My Review:

One for the Murphys is a sweet book about family, friendship, and love.  This book would technically be considered MG since the protagonist is twelve, but some of the issues in it are probably better for YA.  I absolutely loved this book.  I read it over the span of a few hours, and I couldn't put it down.  The story and characters completely sucked me in.


Carley is a great main character.  She goes into her foster home with very low expectations.  She expects a family who won't really care about her at all, so she is surprised when she finds a loving family there.  It takes her time to really open up to the love of the Murphys.  She has trouble trusting them after the problems she experienced with her mother and stepfather.  She remembers her stepfather beating, and her mother holding her down so he could keep beating her.  Towards the end of the book, she realizes something about her mother, and she learns that what she remembers isn't completely accurate.  Carley learns many lessons about love and family in this book.

The members of the Murphy family are strongly developed.  Mrs. Murphy automatically welcomes Carley into the family.  She is a great mother, and she does a great job taking care of Carley.  She shows Carley that she loves through her words and actions.  There is one scene when I think she may have made a mistake.  It's a scene that has to do with the word mom.  Mr. Murphy takes longer to warm up to Carley.  There are scenes when Carley overhears the two parents arguing about her.  The two younger boys, Adam and Michael Eric, are sweet kids.  They play superheroes with Carley when she arrives at their home.  Daniel is very closed-off to Carley at first.  He doesn't like how his mother is letting a stranger into their home.  He opens up to Carley more as she helps him improve his basketball skills.

Another great part of the story is the friendship between Carley and Toni.  Toni is a girl who loves Broadway shows, especially Wicked, and her real name is Charity.  She doesn't like Carley at first, and she calls Carley a clone because of what she wears.  Their social studies teacher decides to assign everyone a partner for a project.  He decides he will assign each person a person that they don't get along well with.  Toni and Carley are assigned to be partners.  At first, they still don't get along, but as the project continues, Toni opens up to Carley.  Unfortunately, Carley doesn't tell Toni that she is a foster child.  Toni thinks the Murphys are her parents and brothers.  Toni finds out from the brothers, and this causes conflict between the two girls.  Luckily, they are able to resolve the conflict before the book's end.

If you like contemporary YA or MG, read this book.



  1. Love the premise of the story, and very much interested in reading it. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You're welcome. I hope you like it.

  2. Hey Katie, just nominated your lovely blog for the Sisterhood Award :)

  3. Katie, this book sounds SO SWEET! I can't even tell you how much I love foster child books since I read Jean Little's Dancing Through the Snow (that broke my heart!), and this one seems like it'd be a really touching read twelve-year-old protagnoist or otherwise! Plus, you've gotta love it when two unlikely people are assigned as partners for a project! ;)

    Really beautiful review, Katie! :) <3

    1. Thanks, Mimi! This really is a sweet book. I haven't heard of Dancing Through the Snow, but I might have to check it out.

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