Porcupine by Meg Tilly is a YA Novel following the story of Jack (Jaqueline) and her younger brother and sister, Tessa and Simon. After their father is killed by “friendly fire” in Afghanistan, their mother falls to pieces and stops paying the bills and buying food. After all their furniture has been taken and their heating shut off, Jack’s mother picks up the kids from school claiming they’re going on a “vacation” to see their Great Grandmother in Alberta. Jack doesn’t even have time to say goodbye to her home in Newfoundland before she and her siblings are packed into their crumbling car to drive across Canada.
When they arrive at their Great Grandmother’s, Jack’s mom admits that Gran never knew they were coming, and then shortly after they arrive, their mom leaves them. Gran sets Jack, Tessa, and Simon to work on the farm, enrolls them in school, and scrounges to provide for the kids. While Jack struggles with the responsibility of the farm, as well as looking after Tessa and Simon, all the kids worry about the fact that Gran won’t live forever.
This was a really good story — it was realistic enough that you could really get into the characters, but it was fictional enough that you could enjoy it as a story. I really liked Jack as the narrator, and I think her logic was perfect for her age, maybe even a bit older (she is 12, I think she could have been 14).