Books by Liza Ketchum

Released: Jan. 1, 2017

"A jam-packed ride through early-20th-century performance culture, if one can hold on. (list of songs, author's note, glossary, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 12-16)"
Raised on the road with vaudevillian parents and gifted with a golden voice, young Teresa LeClair sets out to "shoot for the stars—or die trying" in Ketchum's newest historical novel. Read full book review >
NEWSGIRL by Liza Ketchum
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

Amelia arrives in San Francisco at the height of the Gold Rush with her mother and Estelle, the two parents in her family. She has never known her father, and immediately readers are made aware of the widespread condemnation their household received back in Boston. The realities and uncertainties plaguing the burgeoning community fall heavily on her family unit, one familiar today and likely as familiar then, if seldom chronicled. Amelia finds dresses and expectations of ladylike behavior constricting and immediately tries to succeed selling newspapers in competition with the boys. While Amelia gets into trouble as fast as she tries to get out of it, she is nevertheless a sympathetic character. An inadvertent balloon trip broadens her horizons as her vulnerability to danger increases. Gradually she comes to accept her new surroundings and realizes the love her mother and Estelle have for her. Countless novels that have gone before have explored the emotional territory of an absent parent within the context of an upheaval in history, but this is notable for exploring an alternative family structure in an historical setting. (Historical fiction. 10 & up) Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 15, 2005

"Once again, I felt like the seam on a sleeve, rent down the middle," says Daniel Tucker, just turned 13. The son of an English father and a full-blood Pequot mother, he must thread his way between two worlds. Not easy when he meets a new neighbor who sees him as a wild animal, a "dirty Injun." The dynamics of Indian and English, Tory and patriot, are complicated indeed in 1782 Vermont, before it became a state. In the alternating voices of Daniel and his neighbor Hiram, Ketchum expertly traces the growth of young Daniel, who learns he can take from both worlds and can become friends with someone once seen as an enemy. Surprisingly contemporary and relevant in its coming-of-age theme and its exploration of the roots of hatred and the possibilities of friendship, the tale is based on family history and is clearly a labor of love. Terrific historical fiction. (author's note, a note on Pequot history and the Pequot language) (Fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >
BLUE COYOTE by Liza Ketchum
Released: May 1, 1997

Ketchum extends her skein of interrelated novels (which she wrote as Liza Ketchum Murrow) with this earnest, heartfelt sequel to Twelve Days in August (1993). Deeply disturbed by a bully's sneering insinuations of his homosexuality, and unable to take comfort in the friends he still has, Alex jumps at the chance to move back to California, hoping to track down his best buddy, Tito Perone, and recapture those idyllic days of sun, surf, and big plans. Puzzled by the suddenness with which Tito has fallen out of touch, and by the Perone family's hostility, Alex roams Venice Beach gathering clues, and finds Tito at last—living with a man and still recovering from the vicious beating his father had given him when he came out of the closet. The shock crumbles Alex's inner defenses, and he admits to himself that he, too, is gay. Readers, observing his fearful reaction to the bullying, and the sharp attention he pays to other men's bodies, will not be surprised by the revelation, but will understand Alex's previous reluctance to probe the source of his unhappiness, and his vast relief as well. Alex—tall, blond, athletic, artistic, and given to strong feelings and emotional reactions—would be larger than life except for a reckless streak that almost gets him killed racing a brushfire, but that makes it possible for him to come out to his twin sister, friends, and (realistically dismayed, but unconditionally loving) parents. Intense and rewarding. (Fiction. 13+) Read full book review >