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  • Posted November 18, 2008

    Tough and Tender

    Shifty by Lynn E. Hazen is a tough and tender tale of Soli, aka Shifty, a 15-year old kid who has bounced in an out of foster homes and group homes in the SF area. I once worked in a group home setting and found this portrayls of Shifty, Sissy, and Chance realistic. This book is a page turner, and I stayed up late into the night to see how Shifty's journey would end. <BR/><BR/>The characters that inhabit SHIFTY are authentic; their story may be played out in the pages of a novel, but they live in the real world.

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  • Posted November 15, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Amber Gibson for

    Abandoned on a Greyhound bus just days after he was born, Soli has a lot working against him. Luckily, this plucky 15-year-old seems to have found a real home at long last. <BR/><BR/>His foster mom, Martha, is a shining example of a woman whose heart is in the right place. Though she does not have much money, she dedicates her life to taking care of Soli, a sweet little girl named Sissy, and Thaddeus, a baby boy born addicted to cocaine. Martha has always seen the good in these kids, and she doesn't believe that people should be defined by labels like "foster kid" and "crack baby." <BR/><BR/>The social workers and people who run the foster care system never give Soli the benefit of a doubt, filling his files with untrue information about how dangerous and suspicious he is. However, Soli doesn't conform to their low expectations. He loves his foster family and never shirks his responsibilities as a big brother and son. <BR/><BR/>Perhaps driving Martha's van without a license isn't legal, but Soli is a good driver and his intentions are pure - he drives to buy groceries or pick up Sissy when Martha cannot. Still, driving without a license is risky business. Driving home bag ladies, escaping tow trucks, and having tomatoes thrown at Martha's white van are par for the course. Anything to avoid being stopped by authorities, where he might get in serious trouble for driving sans license. <BR/><BR/>Soli's biggest dilemma right now is Sheila, the new social worker who is determined to shut Martha down. Sheila is just looking for any little slip-up to file a complaint against Martha, so Soli and Sissy are on their best behavior. Martha is the mother they never had and they will do anything to remain living with her. Who knows what kind of family they might be placed with if they are thrown back into the system? <BR/><BR/>Written with heart and compassion, SHIFTY is a fun and fast-paced read. Readers will be rooting for Soli from page one, indignant at the judgmental people he is forced to put up with and sympathetic to the hardships that he is forced to endure. Lynn E. Hazen reveals a world that most readers could never have imagined, and Soli is an optimistic and courageous character that readers will identify with. After reading SHIFTY, you will want to adopt a foster child yourself, providing a loving home that all children deserve.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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