Sunday, May 7, 2017

Firegirl by Tony Abbott

"It wasn't much, really, the whole Jessica Feeney thing. If you look at it nothing much happened. She was a girl who came into my class after the beginning of the year and was only there for a couple of weeks or so."

"As horrible as a I thought the girl would look, when I imagined what burned people looked like, it was nothing compared to what stepped into the room.  ... Was she in pain right now? It seemed like she must be. As if being in that skin would make you want to scream and scream and scream until you died"

As you can see from these quotes Firegirl is a confronting story.  It is the story of a boy called Tom and his class in Year Seven.  Through Tom's eyes, the reader pieces together the story of Jessica - the new girl.  She has been badly burned in a accidental fire and the family have relocated to be near the hospital where she is undergoing regular and painful treatments.  Tom is horrified by Jessica's appearance but his humanity and kindness take over and gradually he comes to see Jessica as a real person and not just a damaged face.  In contrast Tom's friend Jeff is simply brutal.  He will not hold Jessica's hand for the class prayer time, he makes harsh comments about her and about Tom's relationship with Jessica.

Listen to an audio sample.

Tony Abbott is the author of Secrets of Droon - a fantasy series for younger readers.  Oddly we now have two books in our library called fire girl.  The other is a fantasy book which I do highly recommend.  We purchased Firegirl by Tony Abbott for a class who are planning to study Wonder. Firegirl would make a good comparison novel for a very senior class.  The themes are reactions of the class are too confronting for middle primary readers.  Another book you could use with Firegirl is the verse novel Motormouth. Firegirl is a previous winner (2007) of the Golden Kite Award.

Jessica Feeney joins their class. She’s a burn survivor who’s in town for treatment. The students don’t know how to act around her.  Kirkus

This powerful, emotional novel told in first person will touch readers' hearts. Some situations come only once in a person's lifetime, but they are enough to change that individual forever. Don't miss the opportunity to be moved by FIREGIRL.  KidsReads

Though fleeting and fragile, Tom's connection to Jessica changes his perspective on himself, his peers and friendship, and underscores the reward of reaching out to another—of getting "out there." Publisher's Weekly

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