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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Tough, Beautiful Fighting Words An Unforgettable Novel

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Every child needs a fierce protector.  Ten-year-old Della has her older sister, Suki.  It was Suki who cared for her while their mother cooked meth; Suki who watched out for her when their mom went to prison, leaving the girls in the care of her abusive boyfriend; Suki who got the evidence that convicted him for molesting Della; and Suki who still shields her even though the sisters are finally safe with Francine, their forthright but loving foster mother.  It's only now that Della is beginning to realize that while she's always had Suki as her older, wiser guard, Suki's never really had anyone to fulfill that role.  And she's needed a protector.  Desperately.  When Suki tries to take her own life, Della discovers just how broken her she-wolf sister really is.  Can Della find a way to nurture her sister the way Suki has always done for Della?  Will the two ever find the healing they so need and deserve?

As you can no doubt tell, Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley is a raw, gut punch of a novel.  While it's not graphic, it's still honest and hard-hitting.  The thing that saves it from being unrelentingly grim is our heroine, Della.  She's tough, irrepressible, and hilarious.  Her voice is absolutely pitch-perfect.  For all these reasons, it's impossible not to root for her and Suki.  While Fighting Words is about so many things—sexual abuse, consent, bravery, resilience, etc.—it's really about two sisters and their unbreakable bond.  Despite its touch subject matter, I loved this beautiful, empowering novel.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me a bit of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for violence and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

1 comment:

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Reading

<i>Reading</i>
Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson

Listening

<i>Listening</i>
The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain



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