A critically-acclaimed tale for fans of Sharon Creech's Walk Two Moons. Set in a West Virginia coal-mining town, this is part One for the Murphys and part Locomotion.
When her brother Michael dies in a fire, Sasha Harless has no one left and nowhere to turn. He’d been her caretaker since their mother ran off and their father died in the mines. And before his accident, Michael made Sasha promise him that she would leave Caboose, West Virginia for a better life someday. Now, she’s in foster care, feeling more stuck and broken than ever.
Trying to cope with her brother’s death, Sasha returns to school and is introduced to poetry and finds it's a new way to express herself when spoken words just won’t do. She even discovers family she didn’t know she had, including a younger Mikey Harless, who’s just as broken as she is. But just as she’s settling into her new life, tragedy strikes the mine her cousin works in. While fearing the worst, Sasha takes Mikey and finally makes her escape. But will running from Caboose really fix the pain in Sasha’s life, or will she have to discover a new way to heal?
Free Verse was the 2012 winner of the Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship through the PEN American Center