Cleaning Up

Cleaning Up

Written by: Lieberman, Leanne
ages 13 to 18 / grades 7 to 12

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Jess finds a secret diary and imagines what it would be like to be a girl who has everything. Will she become so wrapped up in someone else’s life that she misses a chance to create her own?

Jess cleans houses to save money for college, because her dad — unemployed and off the wagon yet again — has moved the two of them out of the city into a decrepit borrowed tent and trailer. Jess wavers between anger at her father and fear that poverty and addiction may be her fate, too, and she decides she will do whatever it takes to avoid it.

She gets a gig cleaning a gorgeous country home and discovers the trashed bedroom of the teenaged daughter, Quinn. Jess wonders how a girl with a perfect life – private school, horseback riding – could have wrecked such a beautiful room. As she cleans, she finds troubling clues – including, tucked behind the bed, a diary.

Gradually Jess learns that Quinn’s life is not what it’s supposed to be. Jess begins to imagine becoming friends with Quinn, and when she begins to write down a new story for Quinn, she risks turning her back on the opportunities that are right in front of her – new friends, new interests, a fresh beginning.


Key Text Features

biographical note

chapters

dialogue

journal entries

Jess finds a secret diary and imagines what it would be like to be a girl who has everything. Will she become so wrapped up in someone else’s life that she misses a chance to create her own?

Jess cleans houses to save money for college, because her dad — unemployed and off the wagon yet again — has moved the two of them out of the city into a decrepit borrowed tent and trailer. Jess wavers between anger at her father and fear that poverty and addiction may be her fate, too, and she decides she will do whatever it takes to avoid it.

She gets a gig cleaning a gorgeous country home and discovers the trashed bedroom of the teenaged daughter, Quinn. Jess wonders how a girl with a perfect life – private school, horseback riding – could have wrecked such a beautiful room. As she cleans, she finds troubling clues – including, tucked behind the bed, a diary.

Gradually Jess learns that Quinn’s life is not what it’s supposed to be. Jess begins to imagine becoming friends with Quinn, and when she begins to write down a new story for Quinn, she risks turning her back on the opportunities that are right in front of her – new friends, new interests, a fresh beginning.


Key Text Features

biographical note

chapters

dialogue

journal entries

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd — Apr 4, 2023
Specifications 208 pages | 5.5 in x 8.5 in
Written By

LEANNE LIEBERMAN is the author of five young adult novels, including The Most Dangerous Thing, Gravity (Sydney Taylor Notable), The Book of Trees and Lauren Yanofsky Hates the Holocaust (Sydney Taylor Notable and Bank Street Best Book). Her adult fiction has been published in New Quarterly, Descant, Fireweed, the Antigonish Review and Grain. She’s a schoolteacher in Kingston, Ontario.

Written By

LEANNE LIEBERMAN is the author of five young adult novels, including The Most Dangerous Thing, Gravity (Sydney Taylor Notable), The Book of Trees and Lauren Yanofsky Hates the Holocaust (Sydney Taylor Notable and Bank Street Best Book). Her adult fiction has been published in New Quarterly, Descant, Fireweed, the Antigonish Review and Grain. She’s a schoolteacher in Kingston, Ontario.

Audience ages 13 to 18 / grades 7 to 12
Key Text Features

biographical note; chapters; dialogue; journal entries