Lisa Moore. Groundwood (PGW, dist.), $16.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-55498-076-5
Nothing comes easily for Flannery. Her single mother is trying to raise the 16-year-old and her thoughtful-yet-infuriating younger brother, Felix, without enough money to buy school supplies or keep the electricity on. At school, Flannery is mooning over her childhood pal, Tyrone, and chasing down her best friend, Amber, who has ditched her for a controlling boyfriend. Flannery’s story unfurls almost as a stream of consciousness narrative, with passages frequently interrupted by and interspersed with frenetic memories. In her first book for teens, Moore (author of February, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2010) forsakes quotation marks to denote dialogue, creating the sense that Flannery is remembering and retelling her story at a distance. This does not lessen the story’s impact as Moore clearly articulates the “profoundly unfair” struggle of the invisible poor, the impossible weight of a child trying to keep a family together, and the brutal torments of high school, including one especially horrific bullying scene involving a used condom. But Flannery remains precocious and independent, a pragmatic heroine with a fierce attitude, quiet patience, and indomitable survival instinct. Ages 13–up. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/21/2016
Release date: 05/01/2016
Genre: Children's
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