LYDDIE

Abandoned by their mother, whose mental stability has been crumbling since her husband went west, Lyddie and her brother Charlie manage alone through a Vermont winter. But in the spring of 1844, without consulting them, the mother apprentices Charlie to a miller and hires Lyddie out to a tavern, where she is little better than a slave. Still, Lyddie is strong and indomitable, and the cook is friendly even if the mistress is cold and stern; Lyddie manages well enough until a run-in with the mistress sends her south to work in the mills of Lowell, Massachusetts, thus earning a better wage (in a vain hope of saving the family farm), making friends among the other girls enduring the long hours and dangerous conditions, and expanding her understanding of loyalty, generosity, and injustice (she already knows more than most people ever learn about perseverance). Knowing only her own troubled family, Lyddie is unusually reserved, even for a New Englander, With her usual discernment and consummate skill, Paterson depicts her gradually turning toward the warmth of others' kindnesses—Betsy reads Oliver Twist aloud and suggests the ultimate goal of Oberlin College; Diana teaches Lyddie to cope in the mill, setting an example that Lyddie later follows with an Irish girl who is even more naive than she had been; Quaker neighbors offer help and solace that Lyddie at first rejects out of hand. Deftly plotted and rich in incident, a well-researched picture of the period—and a memorable portrait of an untutored but intelligent young woman making her way against fierce odds.

Pub Date: March 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-525-67338-5

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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An empowering new voice transforms kif-kif—same old, same old—into kiffer, something to be crazy about.

KIFFE KIFFE TOMORROW

Guène’s smart, upbeat debut shows a North African teenager finding the inner grit to withstand pervasive racism in a hardscrabble Parisian suburb.

Fifteen-year-old Doria lives with her illiterate mother in a crummy, rundown housing project. They have been at the mercy of nosy social workers since Doria’s father left them to return to Morocco six months before. The Beard, as she calls him, wanted a son (“for his pride, his reputation, the family honor, and I’m sure lots of other stupid reasons”), and her mother couldn’t have any more children. At the moment, his abandoned family’s mektoub (destiny) seems to consist of getting along on welfare and secondhand clothing. Doria barely scrapes by at school, where apathetic teachers dish out unengaging work. Mom cleans rooms at the dreary Formula 1 Motel, answering to the generic ethnic name of Fatma even though her real name is Yasmina. Doria can only talk to two people: Mme Burlaud, the school-mandated psychologist she sees every Monday, and Hamoudi, an out-of-work young man who smokes spliff and deals drugs but has a caring, protective way with the girl. She and her mother also occasionally visit an Algerian friend they call Aunt Zohra—a “real woman,” according to Doria, because she is “strong” and can even deal with her husband spending six months each year back in the old country with a second wife. Despite her gloomy prospects, Doria refuses to be bitter and even finds some redeeming qualities in “lame-o” Nabil, who comes over to help with her civics homework. Slowly, things begin to change: Her mother leaves the motel after a strike and begins taking classes in English; Hamoudi falls in love with a single-mom tenant. And as for Doria, her luck might be lousy, but she’s determined that her fate won’t be.

An empowering new voice transforms kif-kif—same old, same old—into kiffer, something to be crazy about.

Pub Date: July 3, 2006

ISBN: 0-15-603048-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harvest/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2006

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A familiar but heartfelt romance for easygoing readers.

ADORKABLE

In O’Gorman’s YA debut, two best friends try to fool people into thinking that they’re in love—and then discover a new facet of their relationship.

Sally Spitz is a frizzy-haired 17-year-old girl with a charming zeal for three things: Harry Potter (she’s a Gryffindor), Star Wars, and getting into Duke University. During her senior year of high school, she goes on a slew of miserable dates, set up by her mother and her own second-best–friend–turned-matchmaker, Lillian Hooker. Sally refuses to admit to anyone that she’s actually head over Converses in love with her longtime best friend, a boy named Baldwin Eugene Charles Kent, aka “Becks.” After a particularly awkward date, Sally devises a plan to end Lillian’s matchmaking attempts; specifically, she plans to hire someone to act as her fake boyfriend, or “F.B.F.” But before Sally can put her plan into action, a rumor circulates that Sally and Becks are already dating. Becks agrees to act as Sally’s F.B.F. in exchange for a box of Goobers and Sally’s doing his calculus homework for a month. Later, as they hold hands in the hall and “practice” make-out sessions in Becks’ bedroom, their friendship heads into unfamiliar territory. Over the course of this novel, O’Gorman presents an inviting and enjoyable account of lifelong friendship transforming into young love. Though the author’s reliance on familiar tropes may be comforting to a casual reader, it may frustrate those who may be looking for a more substantial and less predictable plot. A number of ancillary characters lack very much complexity, and the story, overall, would have benefited from an added twist or two. Even so, however, this remains a largely engaging and often endearing debut. 

A familiar but heartfelt romance for easygoing readers.

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64063-759-7

Page Count: 340

Publisher: Entangled: Teen

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2020

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