Publication Date: 5 March 2020
Zoe Washington never met her father, who was sent to prison right before she was born.
When she receives a letter from him on her twelfth birthday, it’s a huge surprise. Zoe’s mom always told her that Marcus was a liar, a monster, but he sounds … nice. Zoe starts to investigate the crime – and the deeper she digs, the more she doubts the conviction. Is her father innocent? Or is he a liar? Zoe is determined to find out …
Family, friendship and finding the truth are blended with baking to create a sensitive story with social justice at it’s heart.
Zoe is hardworking and driven to achieve her goal in life of making it onto Kids Bake Challenge and becoming a pastry chef, and it becomes an escape route from the confusion felt receiving the first letter from her biological father on her birthday.
Her need to find out more about Marcus, and the truth about his claim to be innocent are totally believable. When her mum shuts down any hypothetical contact, Zoe is lucky to have her Grandmother act as a go between to ensure her safety as she begins contact.
The letters between father and daughter are fraught with emotion; a man claiming his innocence and love for the daughter he has never met, and a girl trying to balance the kind, caring person she is getting to know with someone jailed for the worst possible crime.
Set in Boston, Zoe’s investigation into Marcus’ conviction leads to her question her beliefs about the justice system always being right. The Innocence Project and #BlackLivesMatter are highlighted in her search for the truth, making systemic racism a real discussion point from the story.
The only thing missing? Zoe’s Fruit Loop cupcake recipe.
You can find out more and read an extract over on the Chicken House Website.
Huge thanks to Chicken House for sending me a copy.