She’s not Alyssa any longer, she’s Blister, and determined to what she wants to, not what anyone else expects her to.

It all ended on June 5. Until then Alyssa hadn’t realized just how perfect her life really was. She lived in a wonderful old farmhouse with her parents, four cats, some chickens and a goat. Her grandmother Daisy G lived just a few blocks away, and she could walk all to way to and from school. She knew her dad didn’t always come right home after work, and she knew that sometimes her mother just sat and cried, but Alyssa tried not to think about that. And when Daisy G told her about the new baby, Alyssa knew everything was exactly right.

But on June 5, the baby was born dead, and Alyssa’s perfect life was over. Her mother sat and cried all day, every day. Her father was almost never home, even when he didn’t stay late at work, and even Daisy G had her own life to live, so Alyssa was alone most of the time. All that was bad enough, but then Alyssa’s dad made them move into town, into a tiny apartment, and then found his own place to live, leaving Alyssa alone to deal with her mother and a brand new school, and everyone knows that fifth grade is a hard year to be new, and without any friends.

That’s why, when Alyssa found a suitcase full of clothes under her father’s bed, clothes that had to belong to his girlfriend, Alyssa decided she was really going to make an impression at school. She took three outfits, a slinky strapless dress, a long hot-pink skirt and a little black t-shirt that said TROUBLE on the front, and a green and yellow dress with a soft yellow cardigan, and little high-heeled sandals to wear with them. And to go with her new look, Alyssa gave herself a new name, Blister, because that’s one thing no one can ignore.

Blister couldn’t depend on her parents, her grandmother, or the friends she’d had at her old school. The only person she could depend on was herself — but that was enough. Watch what happens when Blister decides to take on the world — or at least the fifth grade!