Carrie Parker, the precocious eight-year-old narrator of Elizabeth Flock's, keeps her greatest treasure - an exotic stamp collection - secreted in her hot attic bedroom. She tries not to sass her mother, she plays make - believe in the woods of her impoverished North Carolina home and she longs to be popular in school. She is also fiercely protective of her six-year-old sister, Emma. But her daydreams and her hiding places can't veil the violent reality of her life, and keeping Emma by her side won't shield her sister for very long. ME & EMMA is a disarmingly tender and startling novel about the determination and resilience of childhood. Carrie has good reason to worry about Emma-Richard, their abusive, alcoholic stepfather, delights in tormenting the girls, and he's begun to show a special interest in Emma. And their mother can't defend them any better than she can defend herself, especially after the girls' plan to run away fails, with devastating consequences. After the family moves for Richard's job, life seems even more difficult until the girls find an unlikely friend. He teaches Carrie to be strong and helps ground her to her past, and then leads her to a shocking moment of truth, one that will leave everyone-including the reader-reeling. Flock expertly captures the inner workings of Carrie's mind. With a distinctive style that blends the appeal of such rich classics as Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird with the contemporary draw of The Secret Life of Bees, she seamlessly slips the reader into this child's fractured world and her impressive fight to piece it back together.