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Lizard Love Hardcover – April 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Front Street Press; First Edition edition (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932425349
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932425345
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,658,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6–9—Grace's story opens with a brief idyllic episode in her seventh summer spent with her grandparents in the rural Midwest. She wholly immerses herself in the natural beauty and wonder of her surroundings, beginning a lifelong love of frogs, lizards, and snakes. The narrative soon shifts forward to Grace's eighth-grade year in New York City, where her mother's graduate work and teaching have taken them. Grace's hatred of urban life and difficulty in adjusting to a school where she feels freakish intensify the pain of adolescence. She stumbles upon a pet shop called Fang and Claw, and soon she's helping Pops and his son, Walter, with the care of the marvelous creatures, including Spot, a gorgeous iguana that Grace adores on sight and takes home. A long-awaited summer return to Mooresville disappoints her: the countryside is being ruined by suburban sprawl, her grandparents are slowing down, and her body is betraying her with embarrassing developments. Upon returning to New York, she feels as alien in her own skin as the displaced tropical lizards and snakes she favors. Grace ultimately begins to shape her environment so she can thrive and to value those special people like Walter who appreciate her. Nicely characterized, showing keen awareness of the young teen experience, and written to reveal the reptilian world in colorful detail, the story is an obvious fit for animal lovers, particularly those who delight in the cold-blooded variety. All readers will come to understand Grace's fancy for these creatures even if they don't share her lizard love. A worthwhile choice for young folks shedding the skin of childhood.—Suzanne Gordon, Peachtree Ridge High School, Suwanee, GA
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* Grace, who has moved from Mooresville, Indiana, to Manhattan, is having trouble adjusting. She misses the trappings of her grandparents’ farm; the dank, muddy creek bottom; and the treetops, lit by lightning bugs—and she misses the birds and bullfrogs who were her friends. When Grace discovers the Fang & Claw, a pet store specializing in reptiles, she finds in it something that feels like home. Soon Grace is spending every day after school helping Pops and his son, Walter, and she even adopts Spot, an iguana. But as she begins to enjoy her growing sense of stability, her maturing body brings unwanted attention that throws her for a loop once again. In her debut novel, Townsend displays a remarkable narrative gift. Though her images remain a little static when she’s describing urban things, her language really comes alive when talking about the the natural world; her sensuous herpetological descriptions are unflinching, evocative, and positively elegant. Even the minor characterizations are full and complex, and the relationships drawn among them resonate with the honesty of adolescence. Though Grace’s naïveté seems surprising at first, this story will still find a very enthusiastic audience among young people, especially outsiders, walking the daily tightrope between fitting in and growing up. Grades 6-12. --Thom Barthelmess

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By SZAA on April 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Once I picked up this book, I could not put it down. Maybe it was because it was filled with reptiles and in my house, reptiles are animals to love (and spend lots of money on). Maybe it was because the lead character grabbed my heart from the first page and didn't let go, even once I shut the book on the last word. Or maybe it's because this author has an exceptional talent, one for writing a book that allows the reader to enter the world she has created, and never want to leave.

Lizard Love, written by Wendy Townsend, is time in the life of Grace. The young girl lives in Mooresville, a back country town that she has lived in all of her life and absolutely loves. She is friends with the wilderness and cherishes the time she gets to spend with her beloved grandparents. When her mother gets a job in New York City and Grace is forced to move to a cement jungle, she is lost. Her heart was left behind and she feels completely hopeless, until she accidentally happens upon a pet store specializing in exotics, mainly reptiles. At Fang & Claw, amidst the snakes, monitors, and lizards, Grace finds herself again. She falls in love with her new environment and just maybe in Walter, the son of the pet store owner.

This was a fairy tale of a book. I loved reading about all of the reptiles that Grace encountered, especially since my own hubby works part-time in an exotic pet store where I have also had the experience of meeting the awesome reptiles she describes. Don't knock them unless you know them! Reptiles are not typical "book" animals and I loved that they made huge appearances in Lizard Love.

Grace's relationship with Walter, as well as with Spot, a huge iguana are touching and real. The writing is beautifully done and I certainly hope we hear from from Wendy Townsend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. DAVIDSON on May 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a great animal-lover and also an avid reader of young-adult fiction, so I knew as soon as I heard about this book that I'd like it. Turns out it's extraordinarily beautifully written--a modest and understated debut that utterly delighted me. It may be that it's a little too low-key to make it onto the gatekeepers' radar, but this is the kind of book that should be winning the big prizes in children's literature! In the meantime I am going to get a couple more copies so I can press it into the hands of friends who will love it...
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By Really on September 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I just finished Lizard Love and thoroughly enjoyed it! There were so many things about Grace I could relate to in my own reflections about growing up! If I only I had had a Fang and Claw or a Walter to help me along! I look forward to reading other books by Wendy Townsend. Like the author and the main character, I share a deep love of reptiles and of nature!
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Format: Hardcover
I'll admit I only post reviews of books I've enjoyed enough to give 5 stars to - and that I'm undoubtedly influenced if I've met and liked the author - but aren't those good reasons to post yet another review of a book I really enjoyed? I hope so. Lizard love is unusually honest - it's about a young girl who isn't overjoyed about the process of growing up. The main character is an unusual young woman with a love of reptiles - a unique and interesting heroine who struggles with the pain of having to going through puberty and with her changing world. I spent some time with crocodiles and snakes and I found the author's vivid descriptions of reptiles particularly interesting.
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