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by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Nancy Paulsen Books (Penguin Group for Young Readers)



In the wake of heart-breaking betrayal, Carley Connors is thrust into foster care and left on the steps of the Murphys, a happy, bustling family.

Carley has thick walls and isn’t rattled easily, but this is a world she just doesn’t understand. A world that frightens her. So, she resists this side of life she’d believed did not exist with dinners around a table and a “zip your jacket, here’s your lunch” kind of mom.

However, with the help of her Broadway-obsessed and unpredictable friend, Toni, the Murphys do the impossible in showing Carley what it feels like to belong somewhere. But, when her mother wants her back, will she lose the only family that she has ever known?


Author Bio:


Lynda Mullaly Hunt is the author of middle-grade novel, ONE FOR THE MURPHYS (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin), winner of The Tassy Walden Award: New Voices in Children’s Literature. She is also a former teacher and Scenario Writing coach. Lynda has been Director of the SCBWI-NE Whispering Pines Retreat for six years. She lives with her husband, two kids, impetuous beagle and beagle-loathing cat. Lynda’s next MG novel, ALPHABET SOUP, will be released in spring, 2014.


Praise for One for the Murphys:

Named a ABA Best New Voices Pick for Fall, 2012.

Winner of the New Voices in Children’s Literature: Tassy Walden Award



“Hunt’s writing is fearless and One For The Murphys is a story that is at once compassionate, thought-provoking and beautifully told.  From the first page, I was drawn into Carley’s story.  She is a character not to be missed or forgotten.”

~~Jacqueline Woodson, Newbery Honor-winning author of Show Way and Feathers


“An astonishing debut! Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s direct style of writing has readers rooting for Carley Connors and all of the Murphys from start to satisfying finish.”

~~Leslie Connor, ALA Schneider Family Award-winning author of Waiting for Normal and Crunch.


“This is a beautiful book, filled with hope. You’ll cry and laugh along with Carley as she learns to lower her defenses enough to love—and, more surprisingly, be loved. It’s a story you’ll long remember.” 

~~Patricia Reilly Giff, Newbery Honor-winning author of Pictures of Hollis Woods and Lily’s Crossing


“Carley is a modern-day Gilly Hopkins, bright and strong, angry and deeply hurt…The first-person narration allows readers inside Carley’s head as she fights against both showing emotion and her growing pleasure in belonging to their world. There’s plenty of snappy dialogue as well. By the end of this poignant debut, readers will be applauding Carley’s strength even if they’re as unhappy as Carley is about the resolution. A worthy addition to the foster-family shelf.”  (Kirkus *Starred Review*)


“…Scenes at home with the Murphy family, as well as those in which Carley builds a tentative friendship at school, are undeniably affecting.…Hunt’s writing is strong and her characters well-developed and believable…readers will still be drawn into this story of a girl’s struggle against the ingrained belief that she is undeserving of kindness and generosity.”  (Publishers Weekly)


“…Hunt successfully creates a portrait of a young girl’s emerging understanding of the complexities of family and the awareness that loyalty is not the same as ignoring your own wants and needs. Carley’s struggles with anger, regret, and self-worth both balance and deepen this coming-of-age tale. The novel speaks to the universal experience of growing up but will especially resonate with readers who have questioned the hands they have been dealt and wonder how to move forward nonetheless. Hunt’s novel vacillates between uplifting and heartbreaking as Carley learns to love, be loved, and let go.” (Hornbook)


“In One for the Murphys, Lynda Mullaly Hunt convincingly portrays the personality of a questioning tween as she interacts with those around her. This is a life-affirming middle grade novel—perfect for those struggling with similar issues of fitting in or standing out.” (Booklist)


“The plight of the foster child has been done before and done well by authors such as Katherine Paterson and Cynthia Voigt. This debut novel holds its own, however. Through first-person narrative, the author reveals Carley’s anger and her determination to hide her fear the way mother taught her. Carley’s journey through learning to receive the love of her foster family and then accepting that she must leave them is affectingly told. Believing that she can, someday, have a loving family of her own no matter what she goes through with her mother, makes a different kind of happy ending. Middle grade and teen readers will find this an engaging story.”—Marla K. Unruh.  (VOYA)

One for the Murphys is a heart-warming story. Throughout the book it will make readers laugh, cry, and appreciate what is truly important in life. This reviewer enjoyed this book because it emphasizes that, even when it seems like all hope is lost, there is some light to be found. 4Q, 3P.—Amber Brown, Teen Reviewer. (VOYA)


“…Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s debut novel is powerful, honest, and heart-breakingly beautiful. This is a book for every­one, not just middle-school girls; teens and adults will love it as well.”  (Sacramento Book Review)



“One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt shines for its honest portrayal of a girl caught between two worlds: the life she’d love to live and the life she’s afraid to leave behind.” (Chicago Examiner)



  • Other Review:

One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt is a beautiful poignant story of eighty days in the life of a child placed in foster care with a loving family. It accomplishes the amazing feat of being both realistic and optimistic. The story encourages an empathetic appreciation for each character’s struggles, and transformation, as they strengthen in love, understanding, and honesty. With humor and wit, the story is a “must” for foster children and the families that love them.

Nicolette M. Banbury, Nationally Certified Psychologist and Licensed Professional Counselor/Specializing in Play Therapy and Trauma


One for the Murphys skillfully balances the genuine struggles, hopes, joys, and disappointments of a foster child, the foster family that brings her into their fold, and the birth mothers painful choices. The story reveals many of the emotional nuances and coping strategies often found in these circumstances that are, for most, very hard to conceptualize and understand. The humaneness of the story is validating, educating, and compassionate. I would highly recommend it for therapeutic use in psychoeducational formats, with bibliotherapy, and in situations where attachment to parents has been seriously compromised and traumatic.

We all benefit when a book like this one is published.

Nicolette Banbury, NCP, LPC

Marlborough, CT



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