Books by Jill MacLean

NIX MINUS ONE by Jill MacLean
Released: July 1, 2013

"Well-crafted and intense, an engrossing family drama in which both young and old learn what it means to grow up. (Verse novel. 12 & up)"
Writing in free verse from the perspective of 15-year-old Nixon "Nix" Humboldt, acclaimed Canadian author MacLean (Home Truths, 2010, etc.) presents an intriguing coming-of-age story set in rural Newfoundland and centered on the love-hate relationship between siblings. Read full book review >
Released: June 12, 2010

In this beautifully engaging book, Prinny, about 12, has much to deal with. Her emotionally distant, alcoholic mother is usually drunk, her father—though he loves her—won't offer affection, a new girl in her northern Newfoundland village has drawn her only friend, Travis, away from her, she barely stumbles through remedial reading and "the Shrikes," three relentless female bullies, are blackmailing her. Things improve a bit when a teacher introduces her to Virginia Euwer Wolff's Make Lemonade, and Prinny learns her own power from that book's strong protagonist, LaVaughn. Each fully realized character furthers Prinny's coming of age, and just as LaVaughn "jumps off the page" for Prinny, MacLean's characters will inhabit the reader's world. The exotic northern setting is carefully depicted and plays a major role in both mood and plot. As Prinny learns effective ways to deal with the truly evil, completely believable Shrikes with too little adult support, readers may pick up a point or two. Although this is a sequel (The Nine Lives of Travis Keating, 2009) it out-stands alone perfectly. (Fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 11, 2008

A grieving middle-grader suffers repeated encounters with a vicious bully while finding both solace and allies in efforts to rescue a group of feral cats. Moving with his dad to a remote Newfoundland hamlet in the wake of his mother's death, Travis has a lonely time of it until he discovers seven cats, one pregnant, living in a cluster of abandoned fishing shacks. MacLean economically bestows Issues on each of her major characters. Working through his grief and anger by caring for the cats, Travis makes friends with classmates Prinny (alcoholic mother, mild learning disability) and Hector (severe shyness, overprotective mother), while befriending crusty old Abe (raised in grinding poverty by a harsh father who drowned kittens) and taking repeated beatings from Hud (passing along the brutal treatment he gets from his own dad). Still, the story never turns moralistic, and Travis displays plenty of inner stuff; by the end he's broken the ice at school, reached a rough truce with Hud by providing an alibi after a local building is torched, begun to heal his inner wounds and even found homes for all the cats. Not a complicated tale, but not heavy-handed either. (Fiction. 10-12) Read full book review >