Letting Go of Bobby James
Or How I Found My Self of Steam
By Valerie Hobbs
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), Hardcover, 9780374343842, 144pp.)
Publication Date: August 2004
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A heartwarming journey to self-discovery
When sixteen-year-old Sally Jo Walker, known as Jody, is abandoned at a gas station by her husband after he hits her, she summons up all the courage she can to move forward. With just twenty dollars to her name, she begins a new life in Jackson Beach, Florida, washing dishes at Thelma's Open 24-Hour Café and sneaking into the cineplex at night to sleep. Eventually she saves up enough money to rent a cheap motel room. There she gets to know Effaline, and comes to see that here's a girl who is more alone and lost than she is. Jody is going to save her. And in trying to do so, Jody might just save herself.
At turns heart-wrenching and funny, Valerie Hobbs's latest novel introduces readers to an unforgettable and surprising young woman who manages to break free of an abusive relationship and finds true strength and her "self of steam."
Valerie Hobbs is the author of many acclaimed books for young adults, including Sonny's War and Tender. She lives in Santa Barbara, California.
"Unvarnished and very funny...A fast read where problems can actually be solved by facing them head-on, thinking stuff through, and working hard." -- Kirkus Reviews
"The first-person narrative...shines with Jody's simple, but never simplistic, insights." -- Booklist
"Hobbs (Tender, Sonny's War) creates yet another memorable heroine in Sally Jo (Jody) Walker . . . Readers will admire Jody's spunk and determination as she defeats one obstacle after another, grows increasingly independent and gains 'self of steam' along the way." --Publishers Weekly
"Sixteen-year-old Texan Jody finds herself all alone in a "foreign state" (Florida)...Jody makes it a memorable tale, narrating in a voice full of generosity and humor."
-- The Horn Book
"I like the style in which the author wrote this novel . . . She can make descriptions that make you feel like you're right there in the book." -- A YALSA Teen YA Galley Reader