The brief glimpse into the life of “Ellen Foster” was depressing and written very informally. Young Ellen watched her father kill her mother, and later upon his death, she bounced into the homes of different people through the foster system. Not particularly insightful or humorous, Ellen’s voice is rather simplistic. The plot and characters reminded me of “The Secret Life of Bees” but the strength of Lili’s young voice is mature and witty enough to make “Bees” much more enjoyable. This was included on Oprah’s book list, and I can’t imagine why. After this colossal failure, I might never read another book on her list again. I was disappointed with it, and would skip this book entirely. A reader interested in this type of story would find “The Secret Life of Bees” much more satisfying.