Books by Stephanie Hemphill

THE LANGUAGE OF FIRE by Stephanie Hemphill
Released: June 11, 2019

"Pick up David Elliott's Voices (2019) instead. (foreword, list of monarchs, author's note, further reading) (Historical fiction. 12-18)"
Hemphill (Fatal Throne, 2018, etc.), known for her verse biographies of young women, returns with the story of 15th-century Saint Joan of Arc. Read full book review >
HIDEOUS LOVE by Stephanie Hemphill
Released: Oct. 1, 2013

"A bleak but riveting portrait of the artist as a young woman. (author's note, biographical notes, Shelley bibliography, suggested reading) (Poetry. 13 & up.)"
A fictionalized verse biography of the tortured genius behind Frankenstein. Read full book review >
SISTERS OF GLASS by Stephanie Hemphill
Released: March 27, 2012

"A fiery, feminist love story young teens, particularly girls, should just devour. (Verse novel. 11 & up)"
Love and conventional roles for women collide in this page-ripping tale from 15th-century Venice. Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2010

In this superbly wrought fictionalized account of the Salem Witch Trials, Printz Honor winner Hemphill offers a fresh perspective on an oft-told tale by providing lesser-known Salem accusers with a variety of compelling motivations that will resonate deeply with contemporary teens. Twelve-year-old Ann Putnam is starved for her brusque mother's love. Her older cousin Margaret is jealous of anyone her betrothed Isaac's wandering eye falls upon. And 17-year-old pretty, blond servant Mercy Lewis is tired of the surreptitious touches of pious Puritan men. When two other girls in their village fall prey to fits, Ann, Margaret and Mercy recognize the opportunity to be seen in a society that brands them invisible. But as their confidence grows, so does their guilt. They know exactly what they're doing, but the rewards are too sweet to stop: "…our elders shrivel and shrink, / and we girls / grow spine tall." In subtle, spare first-person free-verse poems, the author skillfully demonstrates how ordinary people may come to commit monstrous acts. Haunting and still frighteningly relevant. (thumbnail bios, author's note, further reading) (Historical fiction. 12 & up)Read full book review >
Released: March 13, 2007

Perhaps at this literary juncture, where novelists supply bibliographies for their fiction and memoirists fictionalize to liberate certain "truths" and dramatize their memories, a "verse portrait" seems entirely in order. Here, though, this book-length series of poems telling the biography of the revered Sylvia Plath forms a novel where pages pair poetry with nonfiction sources that work to make the borders of genre entirely transparent. Each poem speaks through a different point of view in the voices of those who knew Sylvia; a subtitle makes clear who the speaker is. Notes from the author explain the poem's inspiration or style along the base of the page. All of this works to an astonishing effect: readers come away with a sense of really knowing Plath—her life, her art, her process and her being. Hemphill's own poetry is often remarkable, whether she is aiming to write in the style of Plath (she indicates when she is doing precisely that) or in her own free verse. The backmatter includes an extensive bibliography and source notes. A must for any young-adult reader of poetry or Plath. (Fiction/poetry. 12+)Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2005

Hemphill's debut offers beautiful poems that speak both directly and between the lines, as Sarah goes from amorphous unhappiness to silence to depression to hope. Sarah's a high-school junior with SAT anxiety, vague discomfort with her good-student role, and reluctance to connect with her mother. One old friend is too naïve, the other selfishly hot and cold. New friend Robin chooses Sarah almost without her consent; Sarah throws off her test worries, loneliness—and voice. As sidekick to bitter Robin, she does what's demanded and barely talks. The two other friends stick around, one trading insults and the other in tears, as Sarah fades away. Robin's suicide attempt and refusal to speak to Sarah from the hospital throws Sarah into a despair worse than before. A steady mother, the presence of the old friends (unreliability notwithstanding), and a role in a play gently guide Sarah towards a seedling voice and sense of self. Graceful. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >