Seventeen-year-old Fern has not had many breaks in life. She struggles at school and lives with her mother in a roach-infested apartment. Then, suddenly, her mother has a heart attack and dies, and Fern is devastated. But she's a survivor, and she's not afraid of hard work. Sidestepping social services, she quits school and sets out to look after herself.
With a little luck and ingenuity and a lot of determination, she manages to live rent-free by becoming a janitor in a crummy apartment building. When she runs out of toothpaste she gets freebies from dentists' offices. Then she tries to juggle two other shift jobs, including one in a restaurant kitchen, so she has access to leftover food. But despite her resourcefulness and resolve, the exhaustion and stress eventually take their toll, until Fern discovers that she is not really on her own after all.
Written as a series of letters to an imaginary friend on another planet, [The Saver is] a compelling story of determination and the will to survive.
[The protaganist's] determination to find a better place is both understandable and laudable...a strong and clever teenager.