Uneven but sometimes highly interesting, it serves as a window onto the foster-care system. (Memoir. 12 & up)

THREE MORE WORDS

This memoir serves as a sequel to the author’s Three Little Words (2008), which chronicled her experiences as a foster child in Florida. Now, she writes of her experiences as a foster parent.

Rhodes-Courter survived horrendous experiences as a foster child, finally finding refuge with new adoptive parents. College high jinks give way to marriage to Erick, who sticks with her for years as she finally learns she can accept the love and stability he offers her. After her marriage, she struggles with weight problems common to ex-foster children, completes a college degree, and becomes a motivational speaker on child-welfare issues. She and Erick decide to become foster parents themselves, and she describes a series of children they take into their home. These children are in serious need of the love and attention the author and her husband give them. Nevertheless, they must deal with the Florida foster-care system, which the author declares may be even worse than when she was trapped in it as a child. The book bogs down a bit in the earlier segments, when the author writes about her own struggles, but picks up speed with her vivid descriptions of her experiences with her foster children.

Uneven but sometimes highly interesting, it serves as a window onto the foster-care system. (Memoir. 12 & up)

Pub Date: June 30, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-1557-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 22

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2014

  • New York Times Bestseller

WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

Artful, cathartic, and most needed.

AIN'T BURNED ALL THE BRIGHT

A profound visual testimony to how much changed while we all had to stay inside and how much—painfully, mournfully—stayed the same.

Reynolds’ poetry and Griffin’s art perform a captivating dance on pages of mixed-media collage and emotive reflection on the pronounced threats facing a contemporary Black family. In “Breath One,” the opening of the verse narrative, the unnamed boy protagonist struggles with the onslaught of TV news coverage of the systemic violence and death experienced by Black people—coverage that is both overwhelming and insufficient. The television then forms the backdrop of the narrator’s concerns for his bedridden father, who is struggling with an acute respiratory illness while isolated in a bedroom. The art is sometimes spare and monochrome before shifting to a bright and striking palette as Griffin deploys aesthetics that enliven the rich flow and rhythm of Reynolds’ words. The two skillfully go back and forth like rap duos of old, each with a distinct voice that enriches the other. The result is an effective critique of the ways we’ve failed as a society to care for one another. By “Breath Three,” however, a complicated optimism shines through for a family that perseveres through closeness and connection despite what is broadcast from their TV. While grounded in 2020, many of the issues touched on explicitly are very much not over and not even new, making this remarkable work both timely and timeless.

Artful, cathartic, and most needed. (conversation between creators) (Illustrated poetry. 12-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3946-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more