Alyssa Reed is an ordinary 10-year-old girl looking forward to the birth of her baby sister. Her parents and grandmother Daisy G. hope that the baby will be a new start for the whole family, which has had its share of troubles. But when little Lila Rose is stillborn, Alyssa’s world begins to fall apart. Her mother breaks down, her father becomes even more distant, and only the indomitable Daisy G. is any support to vulnerable Alyssa. On top of this, she has to face the ordeal of a new home and a new school. Alyssa has had enough of being Alyssa. So she invents Blister – a sassy, confident chick who is afraid of nothing and nobody. Blister can cope with everything that Alyssa can’t – even the challenge of the cheerleader tryouts.

Susan Shreve has created a wonderful cast of characters and an intricate plot that draws the reader in. Alyssa is an inspiring character. Despite her many mistakes, she has a good heart and it is impossible not to like her and cheer her on through each battle. Daisy G., the dance champion of New Haven in the Seventy and Over category, is another wonderful creation, with her gutsy spirit and endless ability to bounce back from each catastrophe. Shreve has a wonderful way with words and Blister never fails to entertain and to touch the heart. The funky modern cover belies what is essentially an old-fashioned story, beautifully written with gentle rhythms and evocative use of imagery.