By Shutta Crum
(Clarion Books, Hardcover, 9780618234776, 224pp.)
Publication Date: April 2003
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Twelve-year-old Jessie K. Bovey has a lot to worry about. She doesn’t know who her father is; her old biddy of a grandmother keeps interfering in her life; her best friend, Robert, desperately needs new glasses that his family can’t afford; and mean Dickie Whitten teases Robert until Jessie has no choice but to punch him out.
When some New York City reporters show up in Beulah County to research a story about the War on Poverty, Jessie sees a way to solve one of her problems. She can charge money for showing the reporters around town so they can take pictures of the local color” and use it to help pay for Robert’s glasses. But her plan backfires spectacularly, and Jessie learns some big lessonsand some big secrets as well.
A small Kentucky town and its quirky inhabitants are vividly evoked in Shutta Crum’s warm, atmospheric coming-of-age story, which handles multiple serious themes with a light touch.
Shutta Crum, formerly a librarian, is still an author and storyteller. She was born in Paintsville, Kentucky, and now lives with her husband in Michigan. Her website is www.shutta.com.
"Narrated by a chamingly unpolished character...truly memorable characters abound...absorbing plot with an uplifting ending. A remarkable first novel." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, STARRED REVIEW
School Library Journal, Starred
"...engaging and believable narrative voice...developed most eloquently...tender touches of the loving characters embrace both Jessie and the reader." THE BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"... a great job of humanizing the backwoods stereotypes...family story...compelling drama...told with truth, tears, laughter, and real surprise." BOOKLIST Booklist, ALA
"distinct characters...Jessie's spirit and determination drive the plot...her cover portrait will draw readers; her voice will intrigue them." KIRKUS REVIEWS Kirkus Reviews
"Feisty, thoroughly appealing narrator...engrossing reading...authentic, resounding voice...humorous...heart-wrenching...an affecting portrait of memorable characters in trying times." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY Publishers Weekly