HARLEY, LIKE A PERSON

Living in a thoroughly dysfunctional family, with an alcoholic father and an enabling mother, Harley Columba feels and hopes that she is adopted. Researching her birth certificate, she finds discrepancies that start her on a path to finding her birth father. An old yearbook, a toy clown, and a handwritten note in the attic point to a high school beau of her mother’s, Sean Shanahan. Harley’s search for some sort of relief from her abusive father and her helpless mother lead her through some experimenting with the wild kids in school, getting her deeper in trouble at home. Finally, she lights out for New York City, confronts Sean, and hears the unvarnished truth. Still as irresponsible as ever, Sean admits that he has sired two children out of wedlock: Harley and her best friend, Carla. The sub-plot, which hints at Harley’s artistic abilities, is nearly drowned out by the senseless comments and violence of her abusive stepfather, which caused her to seek refuge, starting from the first page. But it is clear that her art comes from the father who left her behind. Returning home, Harley and her parents make a small step toward peace. But this ending seems tacked on and the stepfather’s shift in attitude hard to believe. It is only the author’s facility with words that saves this from becoming soap opera of the first order and it might have succeeded better had the narration not been in the first person. An okay first novel, with a promise of better to come. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: April 1, 2000

ISBN: 1-890817-48-1

Page Count: 248

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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?

A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

FIREKEEPER'S DAUGHTER

Testing the strength of family bonds is never easy—and lies make it even harder.

Daunis is trying to balance her two communities: The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, teen is constantly adapting, whether she is with her Anishinaabe father’s side of the family, the Firekeepers, or the Fontaines, her White mother’s wealthy relatives. She has grand plans for her future, as she wants to become a doctor, but has decided to defer her plans to go away for college because her maternal grandmother is recovering from a stroke. Daunis spends her free time playing hockey with her Firekeeper half brother, Levi, but tragedy strikes, and she discovers someone is selling a dangerous new form of meth—and the bodies are piling up. While trying to figure out who is behind this, Daunis pulls away from her family, covering up where she has been and what she has been doing. While dealing with tough topics like rape, drugs, racism, and death, this book balances the darkness with Ojibwe cultural texture and well-crafted characters. Daunis is a three-dimensional, realistically imperfect girl trying her best to handle everything happening around her. The first-person narration reveals her internal monologue, allowing readers to learn what’s going on in her head as she encounters anti-Indian bias and deals with grief.

A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76656-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more