Cover image for This isn't about the money
This isn't about the money
Warner, Sally.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Viking, [2002]

Physical Description:
209 pages ; 22 cm
Twelve-year-old Janey tries to adjust in the aftermath of an automobile accident that kills her parents, severely injures her face, and forces her and her younger sister to move from Arizona to California to live with their grandfather and great-aunt.
Reading Level:
750 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.2 5.0 61280.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 5.3 9 Quiz: 31981 Guided reading level: T.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



One moment Janey is part of an average American family, and the next she's alone in the desert, watching her parents' car burn after a drunk driver swerved into their lane. When Janey wakes up later in the hospital, she finds her face bandaged and learns that her grandfather and great-aunt are to become her new family. She and her little sister, YoYo, are orphans. But almost worse is the fact that five-year-old YoYo is reveling in the spotlight of "poor little orphan" and her great-aunt seems more concerned with suing the drunk driver than with her parents' deaths. Janey decides that it's up to her to keep her parents' spirit alive and not let YoYo forget her real family. Yet as time passes and memories of the accident grow less painful, she gradually sees that her new family loves her as much as her old one, just in a different way.

Author Notes

Sally Warner is the author of many highly acclaimed novels for young people She and her husband live in southern California with a miniature wirehaired dachshund, Rocky

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4-6. With her trademark combination of humor and compassion, and with a very real sense of what matters to a preteen, Warner tells of 12-year-old Janey's trauma after a drunken driver runs into the family car, killing both her parents. The crash leaves Janey badly burned and disfigured, but her five-year-old sister, Yolanda, is miraculously unscathed. The girls' grandfather and great-aunt immediately fly out to help, and they bring the orphans to southern California to begin a new life. Yolanda seems relatively unaware and undisturbed, but Janey is bereft. Aunt Baby's efforts to secure a large settlement seem greedy and unnecessary to Janey as she mourns the loss of her family, home, friends, and looks. Janey's extensive burns are frankly discussed, and her reaction to her new condition is not sugarcoated. As always, Warner's dialog and characterization are rich and real. A heartbreaking coda about the family's last moments before the accident will leave readers mourning what Janey has lost while celebrating her memories. --Debbie Carton

Publisher's Weekly Review

Warner (Sort of Forever) relays another moving story of loss and healing. An eerily quiet scene opens the story: a shocked 11-year-old discovers herself alone in the middle of the desert at night. Soon the girl, Janey, realizes that she and her five-year-old sister, YoYo, were thrown from the family car after a crash caused by a drunk driver; the girls' parents were killed. YoYo has escaped unscathed, physically, but Janey is injured and will need extensive plastic surgery to reverse the serious damage to her face. The girls are placed with their only relatives, their grandfather and his not terribly sympathetic younger sister, Aunt Baby, who share a house in California, far away from the girls' Arizona home. While there are other insightful, equally well-written novels with a similar premise, Warner's offers a twist Aunt Baby (who Janey overhears angrily telling a social worker, "If I'd wanted kids, I would have had them") aggressively pursues a civil lawsuit against the driver, with the aim of getting "compensation." While Aunt Baby claims, "This isn't about the money," the issue further complicates the grieving Janey's already conflicted feelings. Embarrassed and guilty that her grandfather can no longer afford to retire, she also knows that the court case is, in fact, about money. Although the resolution is just slightly too neat, it is also heartbreaking. Readers will be gripped. Ages 9-12. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-In the instant her family's car is hit by a drunken driver, a large part of 12-year-old Janey's world is lost: her parents, her pretty face, her Arizona home, and her two best friends. She and her five-year-old sister are moved to California where their grandfather and great-aunt, Baby, attempt to pull together the remaining pieces of their shattered family. Told from Janey's perspective, the story explores the complex emotions and relationships of her new situation. She is furious with her aunt, who seems more interested in suing the offending driver than in her losses; she aches for her grandfather, who must continue to work to support them rather than retire; she grieves over her bandaged, burned face, although she is reassured that it can be repaired surgically; and she rejects the overtures of her friends in Arizona "-to get this breakup thing over with." Her healing is encouraged by an empathetic doctor, but it is Janey who takes the first steps that begin to reframe her world as she begins to look through the lens of love rather than pain. Warner develops her characters with a steady and practiced hand, using Janey's inner monologues and dialogue between characters effectively. The plot moves steadily forward from the opening traumatic accident scene without dwelling on the sensational aspects. Both the characters and their sometimes rocky relationships are believable, and readers will cheer as Janey begins to emerge from the horror. The final chapter, her memory of the moments before the crash, is poignant, and recalls for her the foundation of love on which she will be able to build a new life.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

1 Missing Moonp. 1
2 A Quick Happy Birthdayp. 9
3 What Ifp. 18
4 Eeny, Meeny, Mineyp. 22
5 Visitorsp. 33
6 This Isn't About the Moneyp. 45
7 Crossroadsp. 55
8 Eucalyptus Terracep. 65
9 Dr. Vilnerp. 77
10 The Trouble with YoYop. 87
11 Boris Morrisp. 93
12 The Really Important Things About Flagstaffp. 102
13 Out of the Habitp. 112
14 The Mommy and Poppy Quizp. 124
15 Hey, Meeny!p. 130
16 Grandpap. 133
17 The Battle for YoYop. 140
18 Last Strawp. 146
19 Inside Outp. 154
20 Reeny and Grandpoppyp. 160
21 But Where Are They?p. 167
22 No Extra Chargep. 177
23 Full Moonp. 186
24 Finep. 193
Preface: Getting Ready to Leavep. 201