Review: One Good Hustle – Billie Livingston

Billie Livingston, known for “Greedy Little Eyes” and “Cease to Blush” has done it again – she’s written yet another novel that will have you glued to your favorite reading chair for a whole afternoon. I had the opportunity to read her newest novel, “One Good Hustle” back at the beginning of 2012 and I loved it and I’ve been urging everyone to read it ever since, it’s that good!

Classified in the fiction genre, I personally think it could work in the young adult category as well, simply because it’s told from the perspective of an sixteen year old girl named Sammie. Sammie, the daughter or Sam and Marlene is looking for some kind of stability in her life during the summer of her sixteenth year. She grew up with parents that were in and out of jail for their hustling ways, doing whatever it takes to make a buck, sometimes including Sammie in their scheming ways.

Now sixteen and fed up with her Mother Marlene who continually threatens to commit suicide, Sammie packs her bags and moves to her friend Jill’s home where Jill’s parents are shocked and appalled to hear about (and see) the conditions of Sammie’s day to day life. They both try in a round about way to make her a part of the family. While Jill’s parents try to create a “normal” life for Sammie, Sammie continues to hold out hope that her Father, Sam will pack his bags and move back to BC from his new life in Toronto and will once and for all see the light of goodness and create a happy and stable home for her.

A novel that spans a two month time period causes you to watch this young girl grow from a child into a woman. It was at times gut wrenching to read the things that Sammie had been exposed to over the years and as I turned each page, I prayed that she wouldn’t repeat history and make the same mistakes. Billie Livingstone created a very realistic character in creating Sammie, but also in creating the character Ruby, who is Jill’s Mother and steps in to take temporary custody of Sammie. Ruby is your typical Mom figure, a provider, a caregiver, a concerned citizen. I found myself relating most to her character because at times the situation at hand baffled her, but she continuously overlooked the negative things to create a stable life for Sammie which I admired and respected.

If you’re a fan of fiction and/or young adult fiction, you’ll be sucked into this book from page 1 until page 288.

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