From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up–Sophie, 15, comes from an abusive family. Her mother is a depressive alcoholic. Her father appears to be an upstanding member of the community, but in reality he is a savagely violent man. Without any provocation, he has beaten Sophie many times. She has no real friends, her boyfriend has just dumped her, and she is on probation for petty theft. Her only ally is 12-year-old JuJube, her former babysitting charge. After a particularly brutal attack, Sophie is hospitalized and it is JuJube who forces her to tell the truth. The ending is happy yet bittersweet. The novel deals with mature themes in a quick and easy-to-read manner. However, it has all the hallmarks of a message book and is not the most subtle piece of literature. Still, it could help teens with severe issues.–Amy Patrick, New York Public Library
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Gr. 5-8. Canadian author Goobie, who has previously delivered twisted fantasy in novels such as Flux
(2004) and fixed
(2005), demonstrates her versatility in her third contribution to the Orca Soundings series for reluctant YA readers--an expanding line of compact paperbacks marked by enticing photographic cover images and swiftly paced, contemporary stories. This one is a loose prequel to one of Goobie's previous entries in the series, Sticks and Stones
(2003). Fifteen-year-old Sophie--the older friend of ticks and Stones
' protagonist, Jujube--believes she is a "stupid, no good, nothing girl," because why else would her father need to "straighten out [her] head" through smacks and kicks? Dreading both her dad's retaliation and the stigma of a group home, Sophie guards her dangerous secret until fearless, concerned Jujube intervenes. Experienced readers may find the writing style and problem-driven plot simplistic, but those in the series' target audience will be rewarded with a condensed, strangled gulp of a novel, one capable of conjuring both wrenching suspense and the "soft peace" of hope. Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved