If only her life were a story on paper, she could tear it into a million pieces and start over.
Ten-year-old Francie McLean wants to be like her best friend, Randi—pretty, popular, and kindhearted—everything she isn’t. Francie struggles to be someone she is not and somehow control her world that way. But she can’t control Randi’s frequent headaches that ruin their summer fun.
Randi goes away for mysterious medical tests, leaving Francie to endure the bullies on the school bus alone. When Randi returns, Francie is elated until her mother greets her with tears and tragic news. Randi has cancer.
Francie and Randi Picconi have been inseparable since Francie’s family moved to Long Island in the summer of 1976. Francie admires and sometimes envies Randi. She often plants her feet in Randi’s footprints and wonders what it would be like to be her. Now she wonders how it feels to have cancer. She questions God, “Why create beauty only to take it away?” Nothing makes sense to her anymore.
When Randi begins treatments, her father begins drinking too much. As her health deteriorates, his problem with alcohol escalates until it threatens to loosen the threads that hold their family together in this difficult time of their lives.
As Randi’s battle with disease drags on, Francie’s desire to fit in at school pulls her away from the person who needs her most. Francie faces a series of hard choices: should she do the right thing and spend time with sick Randi, or hang out with friends who are healthy and fun? Will their friendship survive the disease that changes everything?
Set on Long Island in 1979, Randi’s Steps is a coming-of-age story that goes beyond the expected themes of friendship, boyfriends, and self-doubts. Randi’s Steps exposes the dark places in a young girl’s heart and the challenges of facing the truth about herself.
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Frances Judge graduated from FIT and worked as an illustrator before homeschooling her five children. Her award-winning stories have been published in magazines and anthologies. Her novel Randi’s Steps was a finalist for the National Indie Excellence Award. Frances also won first place in the 2018 Writer’s Digest Annual Contest for her poem “From the Mannequin Factory.” She enjoys playing tennis and stickball and riding her bike along the boardwalk. In her quiet time, she loves reading novels while sipping coffee. Frances lives in Long Beach, New York with her family and their demanding Yorkie.