After being abandoned by her mother in a most unusual place, a defiant heroine sticks to her plan for staying hidden—even though getting caught could mean saving her life.
Twelve-year-old Mouse calls an amusement park home.
Nobody notices her, and that's the way she likes it. Mouse sweeps the streets and wears a uniform she “borrowed” and sleeps on the top floor of the Haunted House of Horrors. She knows which security guards to avoid, eats the bagel left out each morning for the Ghost of Summer (a popular theme park legend), and even has the taco guy convinced that her lunch is paid for. She has her special hiding methods down to a science.
But one morning, a girl named Cat comes looking for Lauren Suszek. Cat notices her, and Mouse doesn’t like it. Mouse cannot let this nosy pest find out who she really is! If Mouse gets discovered living in the park, Mama might come back for her, and Mouse doesn’t want that. Or—even worse?—Mama might not come back at all.
Mouse knows she can lose this girl without blowing her cover. She just has to follow her rules. A carefully constructed life in the park is all she needs. Right?
Anchored by memorable characters and an extraordinary setting, Maura Jortner’s brilliant debut novel is bursting with grit, humor, and heart.
A Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year! A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
About the Author
Maura Jortner teaches creative writing and literature at Baylor University. She lives in Texas with her husband, two daughters, and a cat that can do tricks. Though she doesn’t do big roller coasters, she loves a good haunted house attraction. This is her debut novel.
★ "[A] funny and spirited debut novel. . . . Lauren's poignant, humorous first-person narrative . . . immediately pulls readers onto her side, even as they suspect that her lifestyle is not sustainable. The vivid, remarkable behind-the-scenes details of Lauren's daily survival arrangements, along with well-developed characters, and a timely and realistic depiction of a family in crisis make 102 Days of Lying About Lauren both relevant and engrossing."—Shelf Awareness, Starred Review
"Debut author Jortner’s writing is smooth and interesting. . . ."—Kirkus Reviews
"A lively voice and ingenuity carry this exciting story that is filled with humor and heart. . . . Memorable, original, and engaging."—School Library Journal
"A moving debut from Jortner that retains a sense of adventure while lightly exploring an experience of abandonment."—Publishers Weekly
"Mouse is a main character to root for—with plenty of spunk, humor, and heart." —Ben Guterson, Edgar Award-nominated author of Winterhouse
"Hilarious, absorbing, and immensely endearing, here is a story that will have your whole heart. This book is alive with 'Park Magic.'" —Chris Baron, author of Sydney Taylor Notable Book The Magical Imperfect
"Told with the feel of a classic, 102 Days of Lying about Lauren is a truly special book full of hope, friendship, and heart—all the things you need to weather the worst of storms." —Ally Malinenko, author of Ghost Girl