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PICTURES OF HOLLIS WOODS by Patricia Reilly Giff Kirkus Star

PICTURES OF HOLLIS WOODS

By Patricia Reilly Giff

Age Range: 9 - 14

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 2002
ISBN: 0-385-32655-6
Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Twelve-year-old Hollis Woods, abandoned as a one-hour-old baby, was named after the part of Queens where she was found with a note pinned on her blanket: “Call her Hollis Woods.” She has lived with a progression of foster families since then, running away whenever she feels the urge. Now she has landed at the home of Josie Cahill, a retired art teacher who reaches Hollis in new ways: by helping her develop her artistic talent. In addition, for the first time a foster parent needs Hollis more than Hollis needs her; Josie is starting to forget things, and Hollis vows to make sure that no one will take her away and put Josie in a retirement home. From the beginning, it’s clear through Hollis’s recollections that something awful happened at her previous foster home, something for which she feels responsible. The Regans had a son Hollis’s age and were anxious to adopt her; while Hollis reciprocated their affection and has longed for a family her whole life, she fears she exacerbated existing family tensions and ran away. It’s a relief when what happened is finally revealed; the accident for which Hollis blames herself was unfortunate, but not fatal or unforgivable. Giff (All the Way Home, 2001, etc.) expertly portrays the intense, heartfelt emotions Hollis experiences and gives her talent and spunk; she is in no way pathetic, despite her perennial foster-childhood. The secondary characters are also completely drawn and are likable without being too good to be true. This touching story will leave readers pleasantly drained, satisfied with the happy ending, and eager for more about Hollis’s future. (Fiction. 9-14)