MY LOST AND FOUND LIFE

The travails of a suddenly poor little rich girl fail to sparkle. Debut author Bowsher has a great concept: Wealthy, spoiled 17-year-old Ashley’s mother is accused of embezzling millions and disappears, forcing Ashley to give up her material girl existence, get a job and move into her mother’s ex-boyfriend’s camper van behind his gas station. But she finds that self-reliance has benefits, including romance with an older Irishman. Unfortunately, the writing is dry and obvious; rather than saying things, characters tease, jibe, quip and so on. Narrated five years after the events of the story, there is little sense of Ashley now, although she says she has grown and changed. Some solid elements, such as the odd cast of characters she falls in with, are lost in ineffective plot points (a fire, a collapsed lung) and a lack of depth. For a better take on the glitzier side of an absentee parent, try Michael Simmons’s Finding Lubchenko (2005), or Martha Brooks’s True Confessions of a Heartless Girl (2003) for finding a new “family” in unexpected places. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58234-736-0

Page Count: 350

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2006

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

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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

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IF I STAY

When snow cancels school, Mia and her family pile into their beat-up station wagon for a drive. Unlike most 17-year-olds, Mia is secretly enjoying hanging out with her quirky family until an oncoming driver shatters their lives, leaving the gravely injured Mia with the ultimate decision: Should she stay or go? As a spirit-like observer, Mia narrates the next 24 hours, describing how her medical team, friends, boyfriend and extended family care for her each in their own way. Woven into her real-time observations are powerful memories that organically introduce Mia’s passion for classical music, her relationship with her boyfriend and her bond with her parents and brother. These memories reinforce the magnitude of Mia’s decision and provide weight to both sides of her dilemma. Forman excels at inserting tiny but powerful details throughout, including the realistic sounds, smells and vocabulary of a hospital, which will draw readers into this masterful text and undoubtedly tug at even the toughest of heartstrings. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: April 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-525-42103-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2009

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