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April 30 , 2010

Randi's Steps


If only her life were a story on paper, she could tear it into a million pieces and start over.

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The Acadians are descendants of the French settlers who established the first permanent white settlement in North America on Ile Ste. Croix, in the Bay of Fundy, in 1604. During the following century and a half, while their mother country France waged war with England, and the new land of Acadia changed hands between them ten times, the Acadians…

Ten-year-old Francie McLean wants to be like her best friend, Randi—pretty, popular, and kindhearted—everything she isn’t. Francie struggles to be someone she is not and somehow control her world that way. But she can’t control Randi’s frequent headaches that ruin their summer fun.

Randi goes away for mysterious medical tests, leaving Francie to endure the bullies on the school bus alone. When Randi returns, Francie is elated until her mother greets her with tears and tragic news. Randi has cancer.

Francie and Randi Picconi have been inseparable since Francie’s family moved to Long Island in the summer of 1976. Francie admires and sometimes envies Randi. She often plants her feet in Randi’s footprints and wonders what it would be like to be her. Now she wonders how it feels to have cancer. She questions God, “Why create beauty only to take it away?” Nothing makes sense to her anymore.

When Randi begins treatments, her father begins drinking too much. As her health deteriorates, his problem with alcohol escalates until it threatens to loosen the threads that hold their family together in this difficult time of their lives.

As Randi’s battle with disease drags on, Francie’s desire to fit in at school pulls her away from the person who needs her most. Francie faces a series of hard choices: should she do the right thing and spend time with sick Randi, or hang out with Lucille and Nina who are healthy and fun? Will their friendship survive the disease that changes everything?

Set on Long Island in 1979, Randi’s Steps is a coming-of-age story that goes beyond the expected themes of friendship, boyfriends, and self-doubts. Randi’s Steps exposes the dark places in a young girl’s heart and the challenges of facing the truth about herself.

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