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Vigilante, Danette. Saving Baby Doe. Putnam, 2014. [240p]. ISBN 978-0-399-25160-3 $16.99 Reviewed from galleys Ad Gr. 6-9.

A cry in a building-site portable toilet leads thirteen-year-old Lionel and his friend Anisa to the discovery of an abandoned newborn baby. Their swift delivery of the baby girl to the hospital leads to initial suspicion (especially by Anisa’s mother) that they are the baby’s parents themselves; even after that misunderstanding is cleared up, Anisa’s mother forbids Anisa to associate with Lionel. Meanwhile, Lionel, himself abandoned by his father, fears that Baby Doe will be hurt by a similar loss, so he schemes to bring her home with him. Realizing baby supplies cost money, a rare commodity around his house, he reluctantly agrees to take on some work for a local drug dealer, promising himself it will be a one-time job. Vigilante returns here to the same minority-dominated Brooklyn neighborhood (Lionel and Anisa are Latino) and group of kids featured in The Trouble with Half a Moon (BCCB 1/11) and offers a similar straightforward and accessible narrative style. The plot unfortunately spirals out of control with a multitude of final tragedies, and the unlikely resolution to the Baby Doe story (the baby’s teenaged mother is identified and gets to take her baby home) is hardly as happy as the book paints it. However, Vigilante writes about tough subjects with an engaging clarity and a tender touch, making this story a gentle younger version of urban lit that might also appeal to reluctant older readers. [End Page 382]

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