The Home for Wayward Girls: A Novel
Growing up in the 1990s, a young girl escapes her abusive parents–and the “ranch” they ran for “bad” girls—and becomes an advocate for teen runaways in this harrowing and heartfelt novel for fans of Joanna Goodman and Lisa Wingate.
While other adolescent girls are listening to grunge rock or swooning over boy bands and movie stars, Loretta knows little of life beyond the Home for Wayward Girls, the secluded ranch where her parents run a program designed to “correct” teen girls’ “bad behavior.” Some new residents arrive with their moms and dads, while other are accompanied by transporters—people paid to forcibly deliver these “problem” teens—girls caught swearing, smoking, drinking, or kissing. Many are failed runaways desperate to leave their controlling and sometimes brutal homes. Few have any idea of the suffering that lies ahead.
Loretta witnesses firsthand how the adults use abusive discipline to crush these young women’s spirits and break their wills. She understands these girls’ pain and shares it. Since childhood she’s been afraid of her father, and avoids him by spending time with the residents, secretly teaching them the survival skills they’ll need in case they manage to escape. Until the day a horrifying act of violence forces her to make her own terrible choice. Terrified and with no other option, Loretta flees the ranch and hitchhikes across the country, ending up in New York. Eventually finding safety and a sympathetic community, Loretta dedicates herself to working with lost, vulnerable, and defenseless teens, determined to prevent the same thing from happening to other girls like her.
Praise for The Home for Wayward Girls: A Novel
"The Home for Wayward Girls is a haunting depiction of what we now know as the Troubled Teen Industry, a world of isolation and extremism. Marcia Bradley shows us how powerful a single voice of encouragement and understanding can be—and how, by following compassion as if it were stones across a river, we can arrive at our truest and most liberated selves. This novel is a reminder that the slightest degree of hope and courage can be the ticket to anywhere." — Barbara Hall, Creator & Executive Producer of Madam Secretary and Judging Amy
"The Home for Wayward Girls is a searing and triumphant novel. In a story of riveting suspense, it chronicles the twisting struggles of a resourceful and remarkable daughter and the long powers of abuse. Insightful and wonderful to read, this is a book that will make its mark." — Joan Silber, author of Secrets of Happiness and Improvement
"The Home for Wayward Girls charts one woman’s transformative journey from 'preordained' suffering to emotional and spiritual freedom. Bradley evokes the tradition of women—from Amy Lowell to Amelia Earhart to Rosa Parks—who’ve overcome life’s obstacles to honor their 'special spirit,’ their 'inner strength'—and situates them within Loretta’s own tale of audacity and courage. This ardent novel is a loving tribute to the power that lies within women—I read it feeling great hope in my heart." — Carolyn Ferrell, author of Dear Miss Metropolitan
"Stirring. . ." — Publishers Weekly
"Readers will sympathize with the characters, thanks to Bradley’s writing abilities and subject choice. Homes for 'wayward teens' remain a contemporary issue today. Recommended for YA and adult fiction collections." — Library Journal
"Readers seeking a mixture of self-help and fiction about recovery from abuse will enjoy this book." — Booklist
"The Home for Wayward Girls shines a powerful spotlight on residential programs and how easily they can turn into dumping grounds for teens deemed unruly. It’s also a story of empowerment." — Novels Alive