I finished this book yesterday and I'm still thinking about Liz, her sister Bean, their dysfunctional mother Charlotte, and Uncle Tinsley. Hence the reason I am giving this book 4 stars. I'm trying to be a little more discerning about giving out 5 stars! As I read over other reviews of this book, it seems that people's opinions are running the gauntlet from very disappointed to loved it & Walls can do no wrong.I don't see this book listed as one for young adults, but I believe this would be the target audience. Are the characters as developed as they were in The Glass Castle or Half Broke Horses; maybe not. However, Walls provided enough information on each character for me to fill in the rest, the gray areas if you will and become wrapped up in the story. So what is this story about?? The author sets the stage with Liz who is 15 being the caretaker of her younger sister Bean who is 12...."My sister saved my life when I was just a baby"...the first sentence of the book. Their mother is portrayed as an eccentric singer/songwriter who is at an audition in LA and whose big break is just around the corner. The girls are expecting her return any day, but instead they receive a letter with $200 in it to make sure the girls have enough money for chicken pot pies until she returns. This is kind of silly, but the author's depiction of Bean's love of chicken pot pies is spot on! When their mother doesn't return and the police start sniffing around, Liz and Bean purchase a bus ticket to Virginia to a small town where their mother grew up and where their Uncle Tinsley still lives in the family home. The reader knows from the get go that the author is portraying the dysfunction of a family in 1970 America. Uncle Tinsley is portrayed as a widow whose hoarding has gotten out of control since losing his wife. Bean meets her aunt & cousins and her aunt gives her the silver star her father got in the war and tells her the story of his death as he defended her mother's honor. There is a villain in the story in the form of one Mr. Maddox who is the mill boss. The girls start working for him even though there is bad blood between their uncle and him. A tragic event involving Liz leads to charges against Mr. Maddox, the return of their mother, and a trial. The story continues with their mother returning to New York City and the girls staying with Uncle Tinsley in small town Virginia.The ending is perfect for a sequel to this book! I'll be watching to see what Ms. Walls is going to bring readers next!