"We'll have fun," Mom pleaded. "You've always wanted a brother--" "A younger brother," said Parker. "I wanted a younger brother." "But Eric is great. He'll-" "You don't get it, Mom. I've always been the youngest. Now I'm going to be even younger!"
Before her mom remarried, Lily was the eldest; now she has dropped to second from the bottom. Her 13-year-old stepsister, V, is brilliant, popular, and seriously beautiful, but "lately she's been toxic waste." That, however, is only Lily's viewpoint. Hicks tells her uproarious story in fast, alternating narratives from the four stepsiblings, who suddenly find themselves together in a blended family. Along with all the jealousy and hurt, they still have fun, as when they hold a rock-paper-scissors competition for a neighborhood fund-raiser. There's also a little puzzle. Who has destroyed the tomatoes that V has been growing to raise money to send soccer balls to kids in Iraq? Without heavy message, the switching viewpoints make readers privy to the family secrets and the lies, as the combination of farce and tenderness in daily life brings home both the struggle and the fun.-Booklist