Life for Rory Hendrix isn't easy - her family's history and poverty don't portend a happy future, either - but she's found a guide to help her navigate: the Girl Scout Handbook. Rory doesn't have a troop and has never met another girl scout, but she's sure the information and advice dispensed by the book are her key to survival.
Short chapters (almost independent short stories) make up the body of the novel. Some chapters are as short as a few paragraphs and none more than a few pages. There's a loose, almost journal or diary feel to the book: some chapters are government reports, others prayers to St. [whoever], a few Girl Scout badge requirements, and others are more traditional prose.
The book covers Rory's story from about ages 4 to 15. She's an early, precocious reader - against form and all genetics. She lives most of her life with her nose in a book - as well you might too, if you lived on the Calle (hers is a trailer park of the worst kind). And against all odds, it's a book I absolutely loved. While it's a dark and scary world Rory lives in, the girl is a bright shining star at its center.