Books by Shelley A. Barre

CHIVE by Shelley A. Barre
Released: Oct. 15, 1993

Terry, almost 12, is skeptical about the helpful young hick his mother drags home after the boy loads her groceries into the car, free of charge. The apparently homeless Chive begins to visit the family occasionally, for dinner or the night, but always disappears again, never tells much about himself, and sometimes shows up with another hungry child. Readers soon learn what Terry doesn't discover till the end—Chive's mother and sister died in a tenement fire after his farming family was forced into city life by a run of hard luck; now he and his father look after other homeless children, befriending a circle of families for infrequent meals and using prize money from a climactic skateboarding contest to stock up on provisions. Despite the realistic, sometimes wrenching portrayal of economic hardship, Barre more often mixes melodrama and wide-eyed innocence to odd effect. Chive's gee-whiz ingenuousness, once his true (and certainly worthy) aims are revealed, is a bit too calculating, while his past tragedy is little more than a device to justify his resourcefulness. Still, these characters are a mighty interesting bunch, from major players to Terry's little sister (``Old Lou'') and his fractious best friend. A first novel with wholesome appeal, and with storytelling that's simple and sure. (Fiction. 8-12) Read full book review >