Kirkus Reviews QR Code
GIRL, HERO by Carrie Jones


by Carrie Jones

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-7387-1051-8
Publisher: Flux

In a quirky but deliberate voice both serious and funny, Lily navigates her complicated life by writing to John Wayne. Her beloved stepfather died “three hard years” ago, leaving Lily with a passive mother. Her father lives nearby, but she worries about his baby-blue stockings and bejeweled anklet. Add in the insecurity of starting high school, an old best friend who’s getting shallower all the time, a brother-in-law who’s battering her sister and a creepy man moving into the house, and Lily needs a hero. She tells herself to “Saddle up,” as Wayne plays Lily’s father/savior figure and role model simultaneously. New friends and a requited crush don’t override past and present threats, but they help. The use of a story of a white woman kidnapped by Indians as a contrapuntal device to highlight Lily’s mother’s passivity is somewhat problematic in this unabashedly left-leaning narrative, as is the use of images of fatness as indicators of evil. But readers will respond to the self-aware but vulnerable Lily as she grows over time into her own unique hero. (Fiction. 10-14)