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Holly's Secret Hardcover – September 25, 2000


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Hardcover: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (September 25, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374332738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374332730
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #798,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When seventh-grader Holly and her family move from New York City to the country, Holly hatches a plan to become sophisticated "Yvette" and to hide the fact that she has two lesbian mothers. In a topical take on the "What a tangled web we weave" adage, Holly finds that her plan is a lot more difficult in practice than in theory and that it hurts the people who matter the most to her. The characterizations and conflicts of this morality tale don't run deepApopular clique leader Julia is unfailingly mean-spirited, self-centered and narrow-minded, whereas the formerly fat Mary is immediately understanding and sympatheticAand everything tidily resolves itself at the end. Holly learns her lesson (and gets a boyfriend), Julia gets her comeuppance and everyone lives happily ever after. Garden (Annie on My Mind) does a good job portraying Holly's moms' pain and disappointment, but Holly herself can seem unrealistically na?ve. The result is a novel that succeeds as a lesson while not quite succeeding to engage as a story. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7-When Holly, 11, moves from Manhattan to Massachusetts, she decides to hide the details of her family life. Won't she be more likely to fit in at middle school if her classmates don't know that she's the adopted daughter of a lesbian couple? She assumes a new identity, "Yvette," modeled after her glamorous aunt in New York, in an effort to make friends and attract boys. Though she gets through the first few weeks of a friendship with a small group (one true friend, one follower, and one fairly standard middle-school villainess), before long she learns what her mothers knew all along-that telling the truth and being yourself is always best. This is a smoothly written story that nevertheless doesn't quite gel. Readers never really get inside Holly's skin; while they may sympathize with her wish to be "normal" and to adhere to some conventional definition of femininity, she comes across as passive and whiny. In the penultimate confrontation, Holly starts crying, and a friend comes to her rescue. Only later does she finally speak up for herself. Also, the message seems to be the main point-always a problem in a fictional work. Eloise McGraw's The Moorchild (McElderry, 1996) addresses the issue of acceptance in a more visceral, meaningful way. Garden's book is preachy but serviceable where need dictates.
Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Holly & her younger brother Will were adopted as babies by their two mothers. They were raised understanding that their moms loved one another and them. Although they faced teasing in their home in NYC the family was very close and happy. And Holly had her best friend Kelsey by her side. When the family moves to Harrison Mass. Holly & Kelsey create a plan in which Holly will become "Yvette" and won't have lesbian parents. As she starts school Holly finds that being "Yvette" is both hard work and hurtful to her family. In the end she does the right thing with her new friend and her first boyfriend by her side (as well as her family). Once again Garden has chosen lesbianism as her subject, but unlike past works the main character is not gay herself. The story is sweet and the plan of a new start perfectly reasonable, but Holly's moms are too understanding for me. A good read for young teens on a subject rarely approached well for children.
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