Firegirl - Tony Abbot

I picked this one up in the library just because it caught my eye on the shelf; I hadn't seen it before or heard anything about it, and I couldn't tell from the cover blurbs whether this would be another Stargirl-type book or something else entirely. It turns out to be the something else entirely.

Neil Gaiman says, in one of his pieces from Fragile Things, that real life is not "story-shaped." We don't always live life in episodes that wrap up neatly at the end with all our questions resolved. Firegirl is kind of like that. Tom Bender is a pudgy seventh-grader who daydreams about saving Courtney from some terrible danger and zooming off in a red Cobra sportscar. His best friend Jeff likes to ask off-the-wall questions and crack jokes.

Into their normal world comes Jessica Feeney, who doesn't fit in. Suddenly, things are awkward. People spread rumors about her, and nobody really wants to talk to her. And here's where you would expect that Tom takes a chance, befriends her, and discovers what a wonderful person she is. Somehow she becomes the most popular girl in the class, and everyone sees her inner beauty.

But this story is perhaps closer to real life. You do find the power of small gestures, but it's not a "happily ever after" ending, either. As Tom says at the beginning of the book: "It wasn't much, really, the whole Jessica Feeney thing. If you look at it, nothing much happened." Still, it's a touching story about a few seventh-graders who react and think the way real seventh-graders probably do.

Fed to jonathan's brain | February 20, 2007 | Comments (0)


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