TENDER by Valerie Hobbs


Age Range: 12 - 15
Email this review


A sad, but ultimately hopeful story about missed connections and the opportunity for second chances. Poor Liv: her mother died when she was born and her father flew the coop, leaving her in the custody of her maternal grandmother who dies when Liv is 15. A cosmopolitan New Yorker who was brought up to appreciate the finer things, Liv goes into culture shock when she’s sent to live with her father, Mark, a socially primitive man who resides in a bleak one-bedroom apartment in a desolate California beach community. Mark’s girlfriend, Sam, tells Liv that her dad is “not exactly an easy person to get to know,” and she’s not kidding. Things slowly begin to turn around when Mark, who makes his living as a diver harvesting abalone, hires his daughter to work as his tender—the person who keeps the diver safe by making sure the air compressor on the boat is up and running. Although he can barely manage a social conversation, Mark is a treasure trove of knowledge about all things relating to the sea, and their days together give father and daughter a chance to develop the beginnings of a tenuous relationship. A nascent romance, an illness, and an unexpected accident round out the tale and further illuminate the theme. The characters, while not precisely likable, have a genuineness, and the narrative is smooth and elegant. A leisurely paced, somewhat gloomy story, but one that is, in the end, rewarding. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Sept. 19th, 2001
ISBN: 0-374-37397-3
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2001


ChildrenWOLF by Valerie Hobbs
by Valerie Hobbs
by Valerie Hobbs
ChildrenMAGGIE & OLIVER by Valerie Hobbs
by Valerie Hobbs