I just read Crossing the Tracks (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2010) by Barb Stuber. The story starts in November 1916 with the line: "I'm under Mama's coffin." On the next page little Iris says about her mother, "I tried to stop breathing like her, but I couldn't."
Chapter 1 fast forwards to April 1926. Iris is 15. "I pull my hand form our mailbox, the letter bent in my fingers, my mind reeling. An official letter for Daddy from a doctor. A bud of panic starts to grow in me."
Barb has written a sympathetic character who has to deal with the injustices in her life. Will anyone help her through these tough times? You'll have to read it to find out.
A bonus on Barb's website is that she shares pictures that inspired different aspects of her book. She also works as a docent at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, which she says, "simply crawling with 'writery' inspiration."
Crossing the Tracks is set in Kansas.