The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt:
"Black tea, that’s the ticket," said Mr. Barbour one morning when I was nodding off at breakfast, pouring me a cup from his own well-stewed pot. "Assam Supreme. As strong as Mother makes it. It’ll flush the medication right out of your system. Judy Garland? Before shows? Well, my grandmother told me that Sid Luft used to always phone down to the Chinese restaurant for a big pot of tea to knock all the barbs out of her system, this was London, I believe, the Palladium, and strong tea was the only thing that did the trick, sometimes they’d have a hard time waking her up, you know, just getting her out of bed and dressed ––"
"He can’t drink that, it’s like battery acid," said Mrs. Barbour, dropping in two sugar cubes and pouring in a heavy slug of cream before she handed the cup over to me. "Theo, I hate to keep harping on this, but you really must eat something."
"Okay," I said sleepily, but without moving to take a bite of my blueberry muffin. Food tasted like cardboard; I hadn’t been hungry in weeks.
"Would you rather have cinnamon toast? Or oatmeal?"
"It’s completely ridiculous that you won’t let us have coffee," said Andy, who was in the habit of buying himself a huge Starbucks on the way to school and the way home every afternoon, without his parents’ knowledge. "You’re very behind the times on this."
"Possibly," Mrs. Barbour said coldly.
"Even half a cup would help. It’s unreasonable for you to expect me to go into Advanced Placement Chemistry at 8:45 in the morning with no caffeine."
"Sob, sob," said Mr Barbour, without looking up from the paper.
"Your attitude is very unhelpful. Everyone else is allowed to drink it."
"I happen to know that’s no true," said Mrs. Barbour. "Betsy Ingersoll told me ––"
"Maybe Mrs. Ingersoll doesn’t let Sabine drink coffee, but it would take a whole lot more than a cup of coffee to get Sabine Ingersoll into Advanced Placement anything.”
"That’s uncalled for, Andy, and very unkind."
"Well, it’s only the truth," said Andy coolly. "Sabine is as dumb as a post. I suppose she may as well safeguard her health since she has so little going for her."
"Brains aren’t everything, darling. Would you eat an egg if Etta poached you one?" Mrs. Barbour said, turning to me. "Or fried? Or scrambled? Or whatever you like?"
"I like scrambled eggs!" Toddy said. "I can eat four!"
"No you can’t, pal," said Mr. Barbour.
"Yes I can! I can eat six! I can eat the whole box!"
"It’s not as if I’m asking for Dexedrine," Andy said. "Although I could get it as school if I felt like it."
"Theo?" said Mrs. Barbour. Etta the cook, I noticed, was standing in the door. "What about the egg?"
"Nobody ever asks us what we want for breakfast,” Kitsey said; and even though she said it in a very loud voice, everyone pretended not to hear.
I wasn’t sure about Theo staying with the Barbours… until that perfect scene at breakfast, that is — that’s when it became crystal clear that the Barbour family was exactly what Theo needed.