“It’s like carrying around a backpack. It’s heavy and it’s on your shoulders. It hurts. It weighs you down.”
The world has just come down around Mae. Her father unexpectedly died, and her despondent mother has no other choice but to take Mae and her two sisters to live with their loving but unprepared grandparents. But while her sisters quickly adjust to the changes of a new house, new school, and new life, Mae finds herself numb and indifferent. The school bullies still harass her for her weight. Her sisters are still beautiful and popular. Her mother settles back into a routine of frivolity. For her, the scenery has changed but not the situation.
When shadows from her family’s past resurface, Mae finds comfort in only two things. One, a purple composition book that becomes her emotional and creative outlet under the encouragement of her grandfather and guidance counselor. And two, her friendship with Dawn — a girl her own age with a gentle wisdom Mae has yet to understand.
A Bitter Spring is a novel about grief, abandonment, and the trauma of being a 15-year-old girl suffering through both. But also, it is about forgiveness, and the painful steps one takes in getting there.