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Saturday, 20 August 2011

Abbot, Tony - Firegirl

Kenin is believable as Tom Bender, the seventh-grade narrator of this brief, affecting tale about how a young burn victim shakes up the lives of everyone around her. Tom, who describes himself as a chubby, sweaty kid that nobody really notices, inadvertently draws attention to himself by being the one person who shows small kindnesses to new classmate Jessica, a girl badly disfigured in a fire. Tom and Jessica begin to bond when Tom delivers her homework on a day that Jessica has been absent from school. But just as the friendship starts to take hold, Jessica and her family abruptly leave town to seek treatment for her at a hospital in a different city. Though Tom had known Jessica for only a short time, he now knows he's forever changed. Kenin conveys Tom's transformation, largely in a final conversation with Jessica, with an authentic-sounding emotional poignancy that is hard to forget. Ages 10-up.

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