HUSH by Jacqueline Woodson


Age Range: 10 - 14
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After Toswiah’s father, a black policeman who loves and believes in the moral rightness of his profession, makes the excruciating decision to testify against two white cops who shot and killed an unarmed black boy, Toswiah and her family enter the witness-protection program. Toswiah Green, now Evie Thomas, watches helplessly as her once rock-solid family falls apart. Her father, previously a strong, competent man, spends his days sitting silently by the window, lost in tortured thoughts and smelling like old laundry, “right there but slipping away.” Evie’s mother, currently cut off from her adored profession of teaching children, has turned to God, becoming another kind of witness, this time for Jehovah. To cope, 13-year-old Evie and her older sister Cameron, now Anna, try not to think about the present but instead move into “the far, far future,” a time when their lives will be settled and sane. Written as Toswiah/Evie’s diary in a fluid almost impressionist style that keeps the reader at a distance, Woodson paints a portrait of people who have made the agonizing journey from being somebody to nobody. She’s interested in exploring what makes the core “I am” of a person, who they are when everything—friends, community, profession, even their names—has been stripped from them. Intellectually engaging yet strangely unmoving, this unusual story about a cut-off child seeking to reconnect and belong will give youngsters plenty to think about. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-399-23114-5
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2001


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