Disappointing; steer interested readers toward Mary Henley Rubio’s biography, Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings...

MAUD

A NOVEL INSPIRED BY THE LIFE OF L.M. MONTGOMERY

Historical fiction based on a few teenage years in the life of Anne of Green Gables author Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Fourteen-year-old Maud Montgomery lives in a small town on Prince Edward Island with her dour maternal grandparents. It’s the late 1880s; with the exception of a very few Métis, everybody is white, and most are Presbyterian. Maud’s mother died when she was a toddler, and her now-remarried father lives in Saskatchewan. Maud chafes under her grandparents’ restrictions and sneaks walks home with schoolmate Nate; she worries about her relationships with friends and her teacher; she writes in her journal and composes poetry. When her grandparents discover her tepid relationship with Nate, they send her west to her father for a year. Maud doesn’t get along with her stepmother; she doesn’t know what to make of a teacher who seems to be courting her; and she makes friends with another boy while also publishing her first pieces of writing. Fishbane thoroughly researched Montgomery’s life to create this lengthy debut, but she doesn’t turn it into a novel: there’s a great deal of retelling in the passive voice. While Anne of Green Gables remains a classic, Montgomery isn’t widely known among today’s U.S. schoolchildren, and it’s doubtful they’ll be willing to wade through these pages to get glimpses of the girl Maud might have been.

Disappointing; steer interested readers toward Mary Henley Rubio’s biography, Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings (2010), instead. (cast of characters, historical note, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 12-adult)

Pub Date: April 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-14-319125-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

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GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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