Books, Music & Movies · Gem & Dixie

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Gem & Dixie

Sara Zarr

Zarr (The Lucy Variations, 2013) movingly explores the effects of neglect on two vulnerable sisters as they try to navigate their complex relationship. Although she does reasonably well in school and stays out of trouble, 17-year-old Gem doesn’t have it easy. She’s always been the parent for her younger sister Dixie. Their troubled and neglectful mother spends her meager salary on drugs instead of food, and their estranged father offers no real support. When he suddenly reappears, Dixie is thrilled but Gem is suspicious of his motives. When their father leaves a backpack full of money in their room, the sisters decide to run away and spend a few days, and a few thousand dollars, figuring out what to do next.