BAYGIRL by Heather Smith


Age Range: 12 - 16
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In the Newfoundland fishing village of Parsons Bay, Kitty has her refuges all staked out, for when she needs to hide from her father’s nearly incessant drunken belligerence.

Neighbor Ms. Bartlett and her Nan live nearby, and there is a cliff where she frequently meets her best friend, Anne-Marie, for solace. But it’s 1992, and the cod fishery is subject to a moratorium, leaving her father suddenly without work. Hoping to find work, the family moves to live with Uncle Iggy in St. John’s. The bigger city and foreign environment require that Kitty find new friends and new ways to cope. Her uncle, an elderly neighbor who favors forgiveness, and, above all, an attractive boy support Kitty and yet present her with challenges. Required to look past first glances and see the heart beneath in this new environment, Kitty in the process begins to look past her father’s drunken exterior as well. Learning and accepting a bit of the why her father is incapable of facing life sober helps. Admitting that she knows that he loves her even if he can’t seem to show it makes life endurable. Kitty’s initial belligerence and anger, so predominant early on, modulates to a more nuanced point of view; given her growth, it’s a shame the mother remains a nonentity.

This first-person tale gently illustrates change, both good and bad. (Historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4598-0274-2
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Orca
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2013


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