Fighting Words

Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker. Fighting Words. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2020.
Another novel with a ten-year-old main character, Della. But this time the story is not so cheerful. Not on the surface and not underneath, either. Della has always had a protector: her older sister Suki. When their mother was in prison, Suki took care of her. When their mother’s boyfriend did something terrible, Suki took care of her. But now Suki has tried to commit suicide and it’s time for Della to speak up and tell the truth. Neglect and abuse were addressed in a previous novel by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley – The War That Saved My Life set in World War II England – and now these problems occur in a story set in present-day America. Only this time, the description is grittier and the issues more immediate. A realistically hopeful novel recommended for mature readers 11 years old and up. Older readers who are fans of Joan Bauer will also appreciate this empowering story of survival. 

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Not so far away…

Erlings, Fridrick. Boy on the Edge. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2014, c2012.
Henry stutters. He can’t read and he doesn’t walk properly. He has no friends and his mother can’t manage his anger. So he’s sent to a farm for homeless boys, run by an angry morose minister.  How can any goodness come out of this situation? This 219-page novel of the search for escape and the discovery of quiet peace is recommended for thoughtful readers 13 years old and up.

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