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Waiting for Christopher Hardcover – April 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (April 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763613711
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763613716
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,028,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hawes (Rosey in the Present Tense) opens this affecting and honest novel with the loss of a baby brother, Christy, to SIDS, described from the point of view of a four-year-old girl. Feena, now 14, has recently moved from Connecticut to Florida with her divorced mother, a soap opera addict. The lonely, bookish Feena repeatedly witnesses the abuse of a toddler, also named Christopher, in the amusement park adjacent to her home. When the mother seemingly abandons the child, Feena takes him and secretly cares for him. As implausible as this story line may be, Hawes tells it with heart. Feena is a painfully believable character, as is her surprising new friend and co-conspirator, Raylene. Hawes's flowing prose and vivid characterization of the popular and seemingly unapproachable Raylene (she moves like an "African goddess" and "[speaks] sparingly in class, but with a tongue of fire in the halls") carry the novel to its complicated end. When Feena returns Christopher to his mother, it is only after confronting her own capacity for violence. Skillfully interweaving Raylene's story, Feena's past and present experiences, and their literary heroines, Hawes delivers a rewarding read. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-9-Feena Harvey's life changes dramatically when her baby brother, Christy, falls victim to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Not only does the 14-year-old grieve for the baby, but also for additional losses in her life: her father leaves the family, she and her mother move to Florida, and her mother retreats into alcohol and soap operas. One day the girl watches a toddler being abused both physically and verbally. When his mother follows through on a threat to abandon him, Feena rushes in and comforts him, taking him with her. Is she a rescuer or a kidnapper? With the help of a girl from school, she hides him in an abandoned structure and the teens alternate skipping school to care for Christy for nearly three weeks. Finally she goes to the trailer court where Christy's mother, Delores, resides and learns of the cycle of abuse that is her life. Feena realizes, however, that the child loves his mother, and makes a disturbing agreement with her: she'll return him and not report anything to the social-service authorities, as long as Delores doesn't go to the police. When Feena returns to the trailer park to visit, she discovers that Delores and Christy have left. This novel deals poignantly with grief, loss, and the healing process. Feena's solitude and loneliness are nearly palpable; her impulsive act understandable. Hawes's writing is distinctive, with many wonderful turns of phrase and beautiful images. Her main characters are memorable and well developed, which helps avoid the novel's falling into the melodramatic that it hovers over precariously. Readers will feel empathy for Feena and for Christy. Perhaps that's why one must worry about his future.
Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

I've written more than a baker's dozen books -- novels and short stories for adults, teens, and children. I wake up each morning grateful to be where I am, who I am. How many people get paid to do what they would give almost anything to do?!!

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 7 customer reviews
The story ends ambiguously, but as it must.
A mom
One day when the toddler's mother abandons him at the amusement park Feena takes him and cares for him very secretly without telling anyone including her parent's.
Raffi
Hawes achieves the perfect balance in her writing, while throwing the reader off theirs.
Robin Jacobson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Paige on July 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
When Feena Harvey sees a little boy being abused by his mother, she 'rescues' him from her. Soon, she is hiding out with this little boy, named Christopher, with help from the most popular girl in school, Raylene Watson. Througout the course of this book, Feena stuggles with the difficulties all parents face, her relationship with her own mother, and the idea of right vs. wrong. Feena and Raylene's situation is not the every-day kind of things everyone faces, but still plausible. 'Waiting for Christopher' gives a realistic portrayal of child abuse. While the ending is sad, it, again, strikes as true-to-life. The friendship between the two girls is very well thought out. I can relate to Feena's feelings towards Ray before they became friends, and Feena's amazement afterwards, that Raylene would actually WANT to be friends, is perfectly believeable. Overall, 'Waiting for Christopher' is a touching story without being overly sappy, and a very good read.
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By Raffi on October 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Being the third child of my eight sibling family, I found this story to be a very inspirational one to me. Waiting for Christopher is a story of how a young girl by the name of Feena Harvey had a very close relationship with her baby brother Christopher whom many call Christy. Like all the big brothers and big sisters in the world, we feel honored to have a younger sibling look up to us, listen, and follow us. Feena was like that, but even a better big young sister. She was four years old and at first she couldn't understand why her brother always had shirts that would say "U.S. Breathing Team". Yet, Feena's joy of enjoying her little brother soon vanished for her little brother dies and she never understood why. Little Christopher died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) which at time was incurable and unstoppable. For everyone it's painful to loose a love relative but for a 4 year old it was confusing, for she had no idea how to take him out of the underground and play with him. Feena's family moves to Florida from her hometown Connecticut where all her memories of Christopher stayed behind. Yet, at her new home every one hopes to start a new and fresh. As a 14 year old in Connecticut she feels lonely and lost. Soon she witnesses and discovers that a toddler is being abuse from he's mother at an amusement park. To Feena's surprise he's name is Christopher. Having lost her little brother, she feels as if this is a time to save this young baby from dying. In a way Feena feels she will bring back Christy. One day when the toddler's mother abandons him at the amusement park Feena takes him and cares for him very secretly without telling anyone including her parent's. Yet, she doesn't act alone she has a friend named, Raylene who is with her throughout the journey.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
It is quite common for children to see things in black and white terms and not worry about the details caught up in the shades of gray. In the book, Waiting for Christopher, the main character, Feena Harvey, a high school student who doesn't quite fit in, decides to act. She sees a young boy named Christopher being physically and emotionally abused by his mother. When Christopher's mother seemingly abandons the young toddler in the parking lot of a small amusement park, Feena doesn't consider the shades of gray or what can happen to her, she acts. Feena "kidnaps" Christopher and begins to secretly take care of him. Feena immediately recognizes that this young boy shares the name of her deceased brother, whom, she has never been able to grieve for.
Feena has never had many friends, and books are her constant companion, but after a mishap involving a young, popular, African American student in her school, Raylene, she thinks she may have met someone that shares her love for reading. After finding Raylene's copy of a book by Zora Neale Hurston, Feena decides keeping the book and reading it will be much less embarrassing than trying to return it. After kidnapping Christopher, Raylene and Feena form an unlikely bond of friendship and the two young teens try to care for the boy as best they can and protect him from his mother.
This is an emotional book that really sheds light on some of the complexities of child abuse and neglect. It was about two brave girls who made countless sacrifices to protect a child that they felt adults would not. It is also a story about friendship, as the two get to know each other they learn that in spite of their cultural differences they share a lot in common. This is a touching story that reminds us that sometimes we have to deal with what is in front of us and not worry about the shades of gray.
Reviewed by Stacey Seay of
The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
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By A mom on December 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Teenage Feena sees a small child being abused by his mother. With no thought for the consequences to herself, she rescues him. But oops -- in the eyes of the world, this is called kidnapping. Now what? Louise Hawes tells us what, in a story that is subtle, nuanced and achingly plausible. Before it is over, Feena confronts: 1) the day-to-day worries every mom knows, 2) some frightening insights about herself, 3) an adult world with a skewed idea of right and wrong, and 4) her own powerlessness in the big, bad world. The story ends ambiguously, but as it must. This will give teen readers plenty of material for probing thought and discussion.
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