A good example of why you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Mary Fred, brought up in a fundamentalist sect, is fostered by Alice when her parents are sent to prison. The novel traces the positive effect of Mary Fred on Alice and her family and their effect on Mary Fred. Each individual tells their side of the story, which is by turns funny then sad. There are unexpected twists too. For me, an engaging and satisfying read with very believable characters.
When I took my first look at Mary Fred, I was sure there was no way we could ever be friends. In fact, I didn't even want to be seen with her in public. She was wearing a dress the color of mud, she hadn't shaved her legs, and her hair was in these weird braids - there was no way I would ever dream of going anywhere with her, not even to the Safeway.