The Home for Wayward Girls
by Marcia Bradley
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Pub Date 04 Apr 2023 | Archive Date 30 May 2023
Harper Perennial and Paperbacks, Harper Paperbacks
Growing up in the 1990s, a young girl escapes her abusive parents–and the “ranch” they ran for “bad” girls—and becomes an advocate for teen runaways in this harrowing and heartfelt novel for fans of Joanna Goodman and Lisa Wingate.
While other adolescent girls are listening to grunge rock or swooning over boy bands and movie stars, Loretta knows little of life beyond the Home for Wayward Girls, the secluded ranch where her parents run a program designed to “correct” teen girls’ “bad behavior.” Some new residents arrive with their moms and dads, while other are accompanied by transporters—people paid to forcibly deliver these “problem” teens—girls caught swearing, smoking, drinking, or kissing. Many are failed runaways desperate to leave their controlling and sometimes brutal homes. Few have any idea of the suffering that lies ahead.
Loretta witnesses firsthand how the adults use abusive discipline to crush these young women’s spirits and break their wills. She understands these girls’ pain and shares it. Since childhood she’s been afraid of her father, and avoids him by spending time with the residents, secretly teaching them the survival skills they’ll need in case they manage to escape. Until the day a horrifying act of violence forces her to make her own terrible choice. Terrified and with no other option, Loretta flees the ranch and hitchhikes across the country, ending up in New York. Eventually finding safety and a sympathetic community, Loretta dedicates herself to working with lost, vulnerable, and defenseless teens, determined to prevent the same thing from happening to other girls like her.