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Defiance Paperback – May 26, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Gr. 4-7. Toby's cancer has recurred, but he defiantly determines not to share this information with his parents. The prospect of hospitalization and additional painful treatments are more than the 11-year-old can bear. His decision is reinforced after he meets and befriends a fiercely independent, elderly neighbor, Pearl, once a famous poet who hasn't published for years. Although she is in her 90s and nearly blind, Pearl stubbornly refuses to leave her tumbledown home to live with her daughters. Drawn together by their mutual affection for Pearl's beloved cow, Blossom, these two characters gradually develop a mutually supportive and loving friendship, which, with the death of Blossom as a catalyst, helps them reclaim their lives and a promising future. Occasionally predictable in both plot and characterization, the story is nonetheless emotionally satisfying, and Hobbs, a gifted writer, does a quietly effective job of dramatizing the life-affirming power of both poetry and a cross-generational friendship. Michael Cart
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Real and poignant.” ―Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“Beautiful and gripping . . . The victory of the human spirit shines through Defiance like the sun.” ―Suzanne Fisher Staples, Newbery Honor–winning author of Shabanu

“Emotionally satisfying. Hobbs, a gifted writer, does a quietly effective job of dramatizing the life-affirming power of both poetry and a cross-generational friendship.” ―Booklist

“The wit and wisdom of poetry give this potentially sentimental plot depth and a welcome acidity. Hobb's dry humor is deliciously evident in Pearl's ironic take on things.” ―The Horn Book

“A poetic tale of empowerment with gentle touches of humor.” ―School Library Journal

“This simple, touching story offers great characterization.” ―Voice of Youth Advocates

“This gripping story will send fans searching for this author's previous books.” ―SIGNAL Journal

“A heartwarming story of self-discovery.” ―A YALSA Teen YA Galley Reader

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 13 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 8
  • Lexile Measure: 640L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Square Fish; 1 Reprint edition (May 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312535813
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312535810
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #496,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is a heart-warming, couragous story. I found myself smiling and by the end, shedding a few tears! What a great story about life, relationships, feelings and more. A must read for anyone!!
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A Kid's Review on February 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The thing about cancer is that only a person who has it knows how hard it really is to take care of the problem. It's not like you get to pick if you have it or not, it just happens.

In the book DEFIANCE a boy about 11 years old finds another lump on his side, He gets real scared, trust me if I had cancer and I found a lump on my side I would be worried too.

The one big mistake someone with cancer can do is not tell anyone and let it get worse. I know how hard it must be for the parents because they worry all the time. My grandma has lung cancer, and she dosn't even smoke. It's real hard to just leave them alone but you have to learn to and that is what this whole book is all about really, he wants his mom to leave him alone about his problem but is comes back and he just doesn't want to go through it agian. I wouldn't want to eather.

Toby meets someone who helps him make the right choices in the end so he soesn't make dumb ones, like not getting the treatment he needs for his cancer. he just wishes he could be a normal kid and that is what put this book together, the choices he made, and how he made them.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Required reading for middle school, my older two kids enjoyed this book.

However, my kids thought the subject was a bit heavy. My kids thought the book read smoothly and was not difficult to get through.

It made interesting reading when similar stories have recently appeared in the media.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had to read this book for my Graduate social work elective course Grief, Loss & Bereavement and think about how I would use this in a group session or curriculum for children. I absolutely loved it and think that it is an excellent book for children ages 11-13. Especially, young boys. I highly recommend this book for social workers, counselors, parents or anyone one who is working with children who are facing sickness and disease. It also touches on death and relationship with the elderly. Absolutely loved it!
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Format: Paperback
Valerie Hobbs does a wonderful job weaving this story about Toby, an eleven-year-old city boy with cancer, Pearl, a 94-year-old poet with macular degeneration (results in poor eyesight) living alone on a dilapidated farm, and Blossom, an aging milk cow. Toby is on vacation when he discovers Blossom, the cow. He's concerned about how skinny she is, so he heads to the nearby farm to confront the farmer who happens to be an old woman, Pearl.

Defiance is a rich story deep with meaning for people who have experienced cancer or other losses in life. Early in the book, Toby reads the sign posted on Pearl's house, "Whoever steals my freedom takes my life," which is one theme of the book. Toby feels like his parents are stealing his freedom. Pearl feels like her daughters are trying to steal her freedom. Pearl and Toby just want to be free to make the decisions they want to make. Pearl and Toby discover they are exactly what each other needs to help them make important decisions.
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