Saturday, November 27, 2010

Lucy the Giant Grabs My Heart in a Big Way

(Image from Indiebound)

"Things Lucy the Giant couldn't even imagine, Barb the Adult has in spades. Barb has everything I ever wanted. Except a way to hold on to it all" (165).

At home in Sitka, Alaska, 15-year-old Lucy Otswego's known for two things: her size and her father. As if being called "Giant" all the time isn't enough to make her into a total freak, she also gets the privilege of dragging the town drunk home every night. Lucy dreams of escape, of leaving Sitka forever, just like her mother did. But, how does a kid disappear like that? And who would take care of her father?

When Lucy loses the only thing that's ever mattered to her, her grief propels her to run away from her miserable life. Before she even knows what's happening, she's boarding a plane headed to Kodiak. The other passengers are college-aged kids looking for work on fishing vessels. As large as she is, Lucy fits right in. With little money and nowhere to sleep, she ends up in a bar facing a surprising challenge. It ends with an even bigger surprise - a job aboard a crabbing boat called the Miranda Lee. No one questions her age, especially when they see how hard she's willing to work. Still, not everyone's happy about having Lucy (who's calling herself "Barb" on board. With the help of warm-hearted Geneva, Lucy finds that the hard work, hefty paychecks, and camarederie of sea life agrees with her. Sitka seems far, far away.

Lucy may be feeling like an adult, but a chance encounter that threatens to reveal her true identity has her trembling like a child. What will happen if she's discovered? She never meant to hurt anyone with her charade - now she's putting others at risk. Coming clean could mean legal trouble, wounding people she loves and, once again, losing everything that's important to her. She can't survive that kind of pain again. It all comes to a head one stormy night when Lucy the Giant has to make a very adult decision, one that could mean losing everything, including her life.

Sherri L. Smith's Lucy the Giant, is one of those You-Had-Me-At-Hello stories. It grabbed my heart from the very first line and hasn't let go yet. Poignant and warm, the novel looks unassuming, but packs a powerful punch. With a unique setting, a cast of interesting characters and a compelling plotline, the book's an all-around absorbing read. Add a heroine who's wholly sympathetic and utterly endearing, and what's not to love? Although I wanted a picture-perfect ending for Lucy, the fact that she has to create her own Happily Ever After gives the story an authentic bent that makes it both hopeful and satisfying. It all works together to create an exciting, yet tender story about growing up, a story I absolutely loved.

(Readalikes: The descriptions of professional fishing/crabbing remind me of The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger and The Hungry Ocean by Linda Greenlaw, while Lucy's character reminded me of D.J. in Catherine Gilbert Murdock's Dairy Queen series and Beth from Sing Me to Sleep by Angela Morrison)

Grade: B+

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG-13 for language (no F-bombs) and mature subjects

To the FTC, with love: Another library fine find

3 comments:

  1. Hello! I just got recognized as a Versatile Blogger and am in turn awarding it to you. Congratulations on a blog well done.

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    ReplyDelete
  2. It sounds like such a sweet and touching stories! Thanks for sharing and discussing :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Rebecca - Thanks so much!

    Reeder - It really is both sweet and touching, but also a book with substance.

    ReplyDelete

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