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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Firegirl Hardcover – June 6, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 108 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-7–Tom, a seventh grader, tells about the arrival of Jessica, a new student who was badly burned in a fire and is attending St. Catherine's while she gets treatments at a local hospital. The students in Tom's class are afraid of her because of her appearance but little by little he develops a friendship with her that changes his life. Through realistic settings and dialogue, and believable characters, readers will be able to relate to the social dynamics of these adolescents who are trying to handle a difficult situation. The students who shy away from Jessica are at a loss as to what to say. Tom begins to look beyond her exterior and realizes that his life will not be the same after she leaves, just three weeks later. The theme of acceptance is presented in a touching story of friendship that is easy to read yet hard to forget.–Denise Moore, O'Gorman Junior High School, Sioux Falls, SD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. Describing his encounters with Jessica Feeney, seventh-grader Tom Bender reflects, "On the outside it doesn't look like very much happened. A burned girl was in my class for a while. Once I brought her some homework. Then she was gone." The remainder of Firegirl considers the way outside appearances fail to portray the real story. Tom is overweight and unnoticed. Jessica Feeney, however, is impossible to ignore; a tragic fire has left horrible burns all over her body. The students at St. Catherine's avoid her, and they spread wild gossip about her. Tom's friend Jeff refuses to hold her hand during prayers. Yet Tom finds that from certain angles, Jessica almost looks like a regular girl, and by supporting her, however tentatively, he sacrifices everything he thought he wanted. In this poignant story, readers will recognize the insecurities of junior high and discover that even by doing small acts of kindness people stand to gain more than they lose. Nancy Kim
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 670L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (June 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316011711
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316011716
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,323,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
When you are a children's librarian, like myself, you grow to stereotype certain authors without thought. For example, if you had walked up to me not too long ago and asked me to describe author Tony Abbott, I would've rambled off some well meaning dribble about the man's overwhelmingly successful, "Chronicles of Droon" series. "Droon" synthesizes everything I dislike about early chapter series fiction. So it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that I was skeptical when I heard that "Firegirl" was written by the same guy. My colleagues and I are currently in the process of reading all the best children's books of 2006, so it came as a shock to me when two of them started crooning in unison over Abbott's latest effort. In a fit of pique (not to mention a sort of I'll-show-them mentality) I volunteered to read the book next. I think my intention was to read it, hate it, and show everyone that Abbott was just a two-bit hack without a drop of writing credibility. Then I actually sat down and read "Firegirl". And to my shock I found it to be a dignified, touching, and remarkably SMART little work of fiction. Little, Brown and Company took a chance on seeing if Abbott had the writing chops to win over skeptics like myself. Their gamble will pay them back in spades.

The book only covers a couple of weeks, and as Tom himself says right from the start, "Stuff did get a little crazy for a while, but it didn't last long, and I think it was mostly in my head anyway". And it all happened when Jessica Feeney came to his class. Until she came Tom was a very regular seventh grader. He's a little plump, obsessed over a rare car called a Cobra, and daydreams regularly about saving the life of the girl of his dreams, Courtney. Then Jessica comes to his class.
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Format: Hardcover
For Tom Bender, seventh grade isn't all that different from the grades that came before. He still attends a private Catholic school, St. Catherine's. He's still pretty much best friends with Jeff Hicks. He still loves the Cobra, a sports car that he spends plenty of time dreaming about. The few things that are different this year? He has great teacher, Mrs. Tracy. Jeff's uncle actually owns a Cobra, and Jeff has promised Tom a ride in it. He's in love with Courtney Zisky, a girl he fantasizes about saving from make-believe situations on a daily basis. Oh, and Jessica Feeney shows up in his classroom.

The day starts out regular enough. Morning prayers, the announcement of a class election, and the impending arrival of a new girl in their class. And then things change more than anyone could have ever imagined, because Mrs. Tracy informs her students that Jessica, the new girl, is unlike anyone they've ever met before. Jessica was burned in a fire, a terrible, horrible tragedy, and she looks different than anyone these kids have ever seen. Tom has only a short time to think about what this means before she's there, the Firegirl, hideously disfigured yet someone how still wholly alive.

What follows in the few short weeks that Jessica Feeney is in his class has a life-changing impact on Tom's life. His friend's jokes and elaborate stories they've made up for how Jessica got burned no longer seem funny. His daydreams keeping slipping Courtney out and Jessica in. And during the class election, where Tom wanted to nominate Courtney so she'd know how he felt about her, he's unable to say anything at all.
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By B. Baker on November 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It only takes an hour or two to read but you will remember the way it made you feel. You want to be the person who would reach out to Jessica; it's not her fault that she is so disfigured that she is painful to look at. The kids in the class are real. There are kids who fear her, pity her and care about her. They are curious about how she got like this and make up stories to calm their own fears. But Jessica isn't just the burned girl she has a story too, she is keeping a secret.

The story is powerful but still appropriate for pre-teens.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This remarkable book gives children a window into interior thinking. It articulates strong and often bewildering feelings that they have yet to articulate themselves. It shows, through wonderful storytelling skill, how what looks weak can be strong, what looks strong can be weak or troubled or wicked, how group think can create rumors based on fantasy. Most of all it shows how friendship can develop through adversity and how a burned child can show others the difference between surface and abiding values.

Our eleven year old adored this book. She read it as part of a fourth grade class assignment and was deeply engaged in the study questions that followed the reading. It brought up interesting conversations in the family.
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I'm a burn survivor. That alone made me understand this story more than most people. However, I've recovered well and now speak at a high school in my area every year about it. I'm still touched by the response I get. I always make sure to tell everyone that just because someone looks different than you, that you can talk to them. This story tells that side of the fear and unknown so very well.
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