Girl Unbroken

By Regina Calcaterra and Rosie Maloney William Morrow Publishing, 2016, ISBN: 978-0-06-241258-4, 401 pages, $15.99 Rosie Calcaterra grew up safe and protected by her older sisters and brother. Abandoned and abused by their mother, Rosie and her siblings managed on their own until authorities intervened, separating Rosie from her sisters. Rosie and her brother Norm’s experience in their foster home was equally terrible before they were “rescued” by their mother, Cookie. As Cookie rotated through different boyfriends, the two bounced through different schools, friends and eventually states. Landing in Idaho, the two were separated by thousands of miles from their sisters and subjected to years of abuse by their mother, her boyfriends and her husband. “Girl Unbroken” is Rosie’s story of enduring abuse, neglect and so much more. Despite the difficulties, Rosie hung onto the love she once felt from her sisters and ultimately overcame her childhood horrors through much effort. “Girl Unbroken” provides a unique view into the life of a child who has experienced much abuse and many traumas. It’s easy to see the places where Rosie was failed by the system over and over again, and not just in one community, but in multiple towns, schools and social service systems. What happened to Rosie should never happen to any child. “Girl Unbroken” is co-written with Rosie’s older sister, Regina Calcaterra, who is a New York Times bestselling author. Regina shared her own experiences of her childhood abuse and neglect, as well as time in the foster care system in the 2013 book “Etched in Sand.” These sisters have provided a window into the hearts of the more than 400,000 children currently living in the foster care system and the countless others growing up in abusive and neglectful families. “Girl Unbroken” is well-written and eye-opening. Definitely recommended for foster parents to help them understand the challenges the children in their care often face. Many current and former foster youth will relate to Rosie’s story. — Reviewed by Kim Phagan-Hansel  

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