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Krueger, Lesley: Corner Garden, The

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"I think I’ll call myself Gretel in this book. It’s not really my name. My name is really Jessie Barfoot, which is a perfectly respectable name, I guess, except that there’s nothing respectable about me. That’s one of the reasons we moved to Toronto. I’ve reached the age of fifteen and a half, and we’re going to get a New Start."

Old secrets and new starts stand at the centre of The Corner Garden. Questions of what can be hidden—and what changed—are intertwined in a story that moves between occupied Amsterdam during the Second World War and modern mongrelized Toronto.

Jessie Barfoot is precocious, witty and wounded, a female Holden Caulfield whose standards are too elevated for ordinary life. She’s been raised by single mother Michelle, a part-time student and sometime cab driver. When Michelle marries a charitable lawyer, Jessie feels only dismay.