By: Blythe Woolston
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Publication Date: February 2012
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Polly Furnas and Bridger Morgan sittin' in a tree k-i-s-s-i-n-g. They had a plan. The Plan. There was the 2.6 kids and the white picket fence and, heck, Bridger even loved her, or so she thought. First comes love and them comes MRSA (a contagious staph bacteria infection). Polly was Case One, but some of the athletes "just rotted and died." Bridger couldn't visit her in the hospital, but Case Three could. It was odd that it was Odd Estes, a rising athlete. The Plan didn't called for a one-eyed freak and a guy with a robotic leg to find solace in one another. The Morgan family sent her a card. No lovely inscription, no nothing, nada. MRSA "left behind a sprinkle of new graves in the community cemetery," shattered dreams, and the Polly-That-Was ... all because she scratched that freaking zit.
There were more things missing than an eyeball and a leg, but Polly and Odd didn't have to be told that. Polly's mother had "morphed into a mom-bot" and was driving her nuts with the babykid crap. Her depth perception might have been shot out the window, but she could see well enough to know what a provisional diploma meant. Everything was gone, including The Plan. Polly would have had to be a fool to think that a one-eyed freak would be welcomed back at the Kid-O-Korral working with the kiddos. Odd knew what Pales Duns and Yellow Sallies were and how to use them. He had Grandpa Odd's ten-mile-per-gallon boat, D'Elegance, a gun, and knew how to use them too. Polly-That-Was had a debit card, knew how to use that, and knew that Bridger was in Portland. It was the new Plan. Polly and Odd were going fishing. Were they really going to cast a line and "tear Bridger a new one" or would they find something else they weren't expecting?
Polly's future was abruptly stolen from her as was Odd's. Their unimaginable encounter with flesh-eating MRSA leaves them adrift in a world they know nothing about, a world they don't want to accept nor one that wants to accept them. We follow the unlikely duo as they try to rediscover who they really are as opposed to what they thought they were, what society thought they were, and what The Plan dictated what the future would hold for them. I was impressed at how Woolston caught the very essence of Polly's inner demons, her very soul. Lines such as "One of us is a social misfit and a weirdo. It ain't her," cut to the brutal reality of what is now life for many people. This is a powerful novel that depicts a new legacy left to the young ... a superbug created from foolhardy choices, choices they didn't make.
Quill says: This is a poignant, gut wrenching tale of Polly-That-Was and her search for a new meaning of life.