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DEFIANCE by Valerie Hobbs Kirkus Star

DEFIANCE

By Valerie Hobbs

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 10th, 2005
ISBN: 0-374-30847-0
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Toby Steiner, age 11, doesn’t want to go back to the cancer hospital. He doesn’t want to “puke up his guts” or “make . . . friends with kids who disappeared.” So he’s not going to tell anyone about the hard marble-sized lump that just reappeared in his side. Instead, while on a country vacation, he’s going to ride a bike, view the heavens through his telescope and enjoy being a regular kid. What happens in this stirring evocative tale is that Toby strikes up an unlikely acquaintanceship with an elderly lady who lives nearby, a once famous poet who has been “losing her vision” both physically and metaphorically. Hobbs manages to wring genuine emotion from the reader despite a somewhat pat ending. The feisty, life-affirming, lesson-teaching elder is a familiar character in children’s literature, but Hobbs breathes new life into the situation, giving the character some problems of her own and making the intersection of these two souls both real and poignant. (Fiction. 10+)