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Hershey Herself (mix) Paperback – May 6, 2008

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 13 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 8
  • Series: mix
  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin (May 6, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416954635
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416954637
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,315,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Eighth-grader Hershey comes home one day to find her mom with a bloodied face. Her mom’s boyfriend, Slade, has struck out before, leaving Hershey with a permanently damaged eye. After feverishly packing for themselves and Baby Ella, Hershey and her mom take refuge in a battered-women’s shelter. Hershey has difficulty adjusting to her new home, but she finds a friend in a reclusive Colombian woman who teaches her how to play the piano in the shelter’s basement. The piano lessons from Lupé become life lessons as Hershey gains self-confidence and applies the bravery required for making beautiful music to her life. The dialogue is sometimes clichéd, and the novel tries to tackle a few too many issues: Hershey’s disordered eating, best-friend troubles, a mean-girl bully, a $1,000-prize talent show, and the painful life experiences of each of the women at the shelter are all part of the story. Still, the novel powerfully portrays the broad impact of domestic violence and includes an ending that’s both realistic and hopeful. Grades 5-8. --Heather Booth

About the Author

Cecilia Galante received a B.A. in English from King's College, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, Vermont. She lives in Kingston, PA with her husband and three children, and is a faculty member of the Graduate Creative Writing Department at Wilkes University.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Little Willow on April 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
Things Hershey Hollenback loves:
Her mom
Her baby sister, Ella
Her cat, Augustus Gloop
Making lists in her journal
Eating junk food (secretly)

Things Hershey does not love:
Her mother's boyfriend Slade

Once, while having an argument with Hershey's mom, Slade threw a glass across the room. It shattered and a piece went into Hershey's eye. She had to have surgery and get glasses. Her mom swore she'd never go back to Slade - a promise she broke quickly when she learned she was having a baby. Now Ella is two years old and Hershey's going into eighth grade. After another big fight with Slade, their mother decides to move them into a women's shelter.

Even though they aren't supposed to tell anyone where they are living, Hershey spills the beans to her best friend. She can't take Augustus to the shelter, so she begs Phoebe to cat-sit. Phoebe, who is a fantastic juggler and a great secret-keeper, is a little wary of cats, but she agrees to take him in - even though she has her own problems at home with her injured and thus currently off-work father.

At the shelter, Hershey meets a wide array of women and families. They don't all get along, but they all chip in to keep the shelter safe and sound. Some of the women are hiding from their spouses or boyfriends. Some of the kids run wild. A few of the adults have hidden talents that they share with Hershey, including an elderly woman named Lupe who otherwise keeps to herself.

As Lupe teaches Hershey how to play the piano, the young girl slowly learns to fill herself with music and with hope instead of with junk food. Because of this, she is able to hold her head up high when performing at the local talent show and when confronted by bullies at school and at home.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on June 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
Twelve-year-old Hershey lives with her mom, baby sister Ella, and her mother's boyfriend, Slade. Ever since Slade moved in with them, things have gone downhill for Hershey. First, it was just little things like the Job List, but it soon progressed into him being verbally abusive, until he became so mad that he threw a glass and almost blinded Hershey. But that's still not enough to convince Hershey's mom to leave him permanently.

Hershey finally comes up with a plan to make her mom leave him but it goes all wrong. Slade doesn't just yell and throw something, he hits Hershey's mom and threatens Hershey herself.

Hershey's mom makes the decision to run away with Hershey and Ella and go to a battered woman's shelter. Once in the shelter, Hershey finds her worries shifting from practicing for the talent show with her best friend to staying away from Slade and worrying about Augustus Gloop. She also finds herself making unexpected friends with the other women in the shelter and, with their help, she discovers a hidden talent that may just help her win the talent show.

Never before have I read a tween book that can use humor and make the reader laugh while dealing with such a tough topic, but Cecilia Galante does just that. The characters, the plot, and the setting are all very realistic to the point where you can feel yourself being pulled into the story. It's written in a way that everyone, whether they're ten, fourteen, or fifty-two, can relate and enjoy. If there's any book that should be required reading for seventh or eighth grade, it's this book.

Reviewed by: Harmony
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By Kerry A. Myers on June 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
Hershey Herself is a book that delivers its material - a somewhat hard situation to handle - in a frank and poignant fashion, one which leaves the reader aching for more. Although the subject matter [that being domestic violence] may seem somewhat harsh to the average YA reader, Galante presents it in such a way that everyone can relate to Hershey's longing for the confidence and self-acceptance that comes with the maturation of being a teenager.

This is a short read, one that can be accomplished in an hour or two if you really set your mind to it, however, it leaves you feeling satisfied. You feel that you have grown along with Hershey and you too are feeling "full" as a person.

Hershey is not a novel about abuse, but rather one about growth. It shows how you overcome a situation is more important than JUST overcoming it, and that growing up brings change - whether it is leaving an abusive lover or merely growing older and realizing the maturity that comes along with that. Because of this relatable theme, Hershey is a great book for the younger set. I'd highly recommend this to anyone. Another five-star novel for Cecilia Galante in less than a year. I'm dying to read more.
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Format: Paperback
Hershey Hollenback isn't especially well liked. She's bigger than most girls, and she's nearly blind in one eye thanks to a flying glass shard. But she does have at least one friend, Phoebe. It's Phoebe who helps Hershey come up with a plan to make her mom's boyfriend Slade angry so that her mom will finally leave him for once and for all. But when Slade lashes out and Hershey, her baby sister, and her mom end up at a battered woman's shelter, Hershey is left with even more worries than before. How will she be able to practice for the talent show and what about her cat Augustus Gloop? And more importantly, what if Mom decides to go back to Slade? But then Hershey comes up with the perfect plan...

Hershey Herself is a touching, frank, and sincere. The situation, while not common in many middle grade books, is very well presented. Galante has the ability to pull at the heartstrings without getting overly sappy, and it's a joy to watch Hershey's journey to confidence and self fulfillment. Lovable and full of all the angst that comes with being a teenager, this is one read that will appeal to mid grade and YA readers alike.

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