Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 452
More than anything else, fourteen-year-old Rosie Wilson, biracial daughter of a mixed marriage, wants to be part of a family, all living happily under one roof. At first it seems she will get her wish when her mother and the father of Rosie's best friend fall in love and move in together, taking Rosie and Phoebe with them.
The euphoric fantasy of a "happily ever after" family and the ceremony of commitment they make to each other lasts only one day, until Mindy admonishes Phoebe about her public display of affection (making out in a parked car in front of the house with her boyfriend). Phoebe explodes in anger and stops talking to the rest of the family, except for Rosie, who is the only family member to whom everyone is talking.
Rosie's idealistic view of what she wants a family to be is taxed as she is forced to see people as they are, with their shortcomings and their own conception of how family members should relate to each other. Rosie feels she is the one who must always cope with relationships and wishes the adults would solve the problems instead of leaving them for her to deal with. After a very large blow up, a family council is called and the four of them try to talk through the problems in their relationships. Some apologies and promises are made, and the family is back on tentatively good footing. Phoebe's earlier invitation to Rosie to go to Toronto with her and her mother and stepfather is renewed and Rosie accepts.
The trip to Toronto turns out to be fantastic for Rosie when she meets Phoebe's new cousin, Jason, nephew of her step-father, and they really like each other. Beyond what Rosie even dreamed of in a Prince Charming, she discovers she and Jason have many things in common, including their love of puns. Phoebe, who insists she has invited Rosie to keep her company, is offended and becomes angry again.
Phoebe spends time with her mother during the Toronto trip, and at breakfast the day they leave for New York, she drops a bombshell on everyone. She has decided to move back to New York with her mother. With Phoebe gone, Rosie takes over their room, cleans it up, removes Phoebe's posters and re-arranges her own and leaves one drawer empty for Phoebe when she visits. On one of Phoebe's visits, Rosie demonstrates her maturity when she is able to talk through the family's and Phoebe's problems with Phoebe. She begins to "realize that being a family doesn't mean that everything goes smoothly." It means families and friendships change and grow, and they takes a great deal of work to succeed.
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