Set in the rural South in the 60s and 70s, Breaking TWIG tells the story of thirteen-year-old Becky (Twig) Cooper, who is trying to survive the physical and emotional abuse of her mother, Helen, a calculating woman who can, with a mere look, send the meanest cur in Sugardale, Georgia running for its life.
Not even Twig's vivid imagination and keen wit are enough to help her endure the assaults of Helen and a new stepbrother, but help comes from an unexpected source—Frank, her stepfather. Sometimes, having one person who believes in you is all a girl needs to keep hope alive.
Over the next eight years, Becky's tumultuous struggle to prevail—becoming neither a "pick" (victim) nor a "picker" (abuser)—finds her bouncing back and forth between Helen’s abuse and Frank’s tenderness as she fights to win this desperate battle of souls. She infuses her tale of torment and triumphs with a blend of dark humor and endearing wit, as when describing Helen, Becky declares, “I may not be the smartest squirrel in the tree, but I know a nut when I see one.”
Just as she begins to feel life holds some promise, Becky’s world crumbles when she loses Frank. To counter Donald’s attacks, Becky makes a shaky truce with Helen. On Halloween night, she and Helen argue and all lies are stripped away. Now that she knows the shocking truth about her mother, Becky must make a fateful decision—one that can give her the freedom she craves or send her to prison for life.