Cashay's life is wrapped around her younger sister, Sashay. She even flunked 7th grade on purpose so she and Sashay could be together for their high school years. Walking home after school one day, Cashay and Sashay hear the familiar sound of gun shots. They hit the cement but not before Sashay is hit by an errant bullet. Now Cashay does not know what to do. Her mother, lost in her own grief, is back to doing drugs and sleeping with someone Cashay labels Mr. Giggles. Cashay's world is crashing around her and no one seems to be able to help her. Until Allison, the tutor at the after school program takes an interest in Cashay. But Cashay finds it difficult to trust someone with the horrors going on in her life. Unless Casahy can find the help she needs, she might just end up like her mother or Sashay.
Lyrical and spare, this novel (Houghton, April 2009) is about a young girl trying to live up to her name, to be a treasure to someone. The narrative has surprises even for jaded readers like me. Grim in places but incredibly hopeful, this is a perfect book to recommend to those who love Jacqueline Woodson's AFTER TUPAC AND D FOSTER (or MAKE LEMONADE by Wolff) or before BANG by Sharon Flake. Cashay is a multidimensional young woman, one who knows the odds are stacked against her but wants to try to forge ahead anyhow.