When weaving baskets, what is more important, strength or beauty? In Cynthia Thayer’s startling debut novel, baskets become an evocative metaphor of the self. Beauty is important, certainly, but if a basket isn’t strong enough to hold potatoes, it is worthless. Meet Blue Willoughby, a brave and creative girl in the midst of a difficult journey into adulthood. Blue’s whole life has been scarred by two events from her childhood: an accident that left her with a limp and a glass eye, and the tragic death of her twin sister just after their birth. The events, though, seem to have destroyed her parents more than they damaged Blue herself. Her mom and dad have all but disappeared from her life. Only Blue’s grandfather, a Passamaquoddy Indian, sees her as she really is–strong, vibrant, and lovely in spite of her scars. With his encouragement, Blue learns to weave traditional baskets. The ash and sweet grass cut her hands, making them bleed, but Blue perseveres through the pain and learns to weave tight, strong, beautiful baskets. As she refines her craft, Blue finds the grace that heals her inner pain, setting her free into the richness of her own future. Strong for Potatoes is a complex, deeply moving story that will encourage mature teens and adults to pay more attention to the ways they weave experiences and people into their lives.