The Outlandish Adventures of Liberty Aimes by Kelly Easton (NY: Wendy Lamb, 2009).
10-year-old Liberty Aimes leads a fairly harsh life. Nominally homeschooled, she cooks, cleans, and does anything else her evil father, appropriately named Mal, orders her to do, including digging up bricks! Meanwhile her obese mother sits on the couch, eats, watches stupid TV shows, and gets heavier day after day. Despite all of this, Liberty is a happy, hopeful sprite of a girl. She manages to escape one day with the help of a magical potion she finds in her father's basement laboratory and plans to locate the Sullivan School, a fancy boarding school where she believes she will lead a blissful existence. Of course, the road to Sullivan is paved with many funny adventures, and the story lives up to its title.
Even though it has a happy ending, the first few chapters are so grimly oppressive that sensitive youngsters may find it frightening. Recommended for grades 3-5 (ages 8-10).
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