The Dime is a bruising but ultimately hopeful small town coming of age tale winding its way through a gauntlet of loss, disability, and abuse. A tragic car crash orphans two sisters, leaving them bound for life, one to a wheelchair and the other as caretaker. An abusive alcoholic dad and criminally derelict mom seed and nurture a paralyzing self-doubt in their son. This story follows three trauma survivors as they intersect for a moment in time, share their scars, and find comfort and resilience together in their paths to healing.
Ten years after their parents’ deaths, Lily, now 20, is a cashier at the local Five and Dime, a job provided as charity and pity so she can support herself and her sister Sophie, a socially withdrawn 16-year-old in a wheelchair. Lily desperately wants her sister to have a normal high school experience but Sophie is increasingly uninterested in the world. That is, until Lily catches a shoplifter and concocts a plan to help Sophie.
Pete is the new kid in town. On his 16th birthday, just another day to his parents, Pete decides to help himself to something from the Five and Dime. His plan goes wrong when Lily see his theft and stops him. Rather than put Pete in cuffs, Lily instead offers a trade – he can keep what he stole and she won’t tell, as long as he takes Sophie to the upcoming school dance.
“Paxson’s slice-of-life novella presents an unusual kind of found family in a story that’s character-driven and compelling.”
— Kirkus Reviews
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