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Stealing Henry

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  • Posted February 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    from Missprint DOT wordpress DOT com

    The night Savannah brains her stepfather Jack with the frying pan is the night she decides to leave home for good. It doesn't matter that she has no money and her eight-year-old brother Henry to take care of. It doesn't even matter that her stepfather will probably follow them. Savannah can stand a few obstacles as well as she can a slap or two. What she can't stand is the idea of becoming like her mother Alice.

    Alice used to be someone Savannah admired, someone she could look up to. But that was another life when Alice was still looking for her own future and finding nothing she expected.

    Savannah's life wasn't always about listening before entering a room and not making eye contact or talking back. Her childhood homes could fill a road atlas. Savannah and Alice traveled all across the country before the fateful day their car broke down and the party stopped for good.

    Savannah and Henry are journeying to a house they've never seen. Eighteen years ago certain events conspired to drive Alice to leave that same house for good; events that would eventually determine the course of both Alice and Savannah's lives in Stealing Henry (2005) by Carolyn MacCullough.

    Stealing Henry draws readers in right from the beginning with a shocking opening line and a truly evocative cover (designed by Rodrigo Corral--the mastermind behind the US covers for the Uglies series). Nothing about Savannah's life is easy and it's simple to assume reading about her won't be either. But the opposite is true. MacCullough's lyrical prose pulls readers in, quickly making Savannah and her unreal life completely believable.

    Even passing scenes of the local emergency room, Alice's current place of employ, are skillfully written with a high degree of authenticity. Everything about this story is evocative and compelling.

    I read Stealing Henry shortly after the van incident and a generally not peaceful time in my own life. Reading about Savannah and her own journey was somehow entirely appropriate for that situation and often comforting. Much like MacCullough's later novels, this story is always optimistic. Even at her lowest, Savannah remains hopeful; the writing itself becoming both peaceful and reassuring.

    Possible Pairings: How to (un)Cage a Girl by Francesca Lia Block, The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley, The Bride's Farewell by Meg Rosoff, Little Voice by Sara Bareilles (music album)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2007

    Sometimes running from your problems really is the right thing to do.

    Savannah is used to being on the move. She spent the first ten years of her life traveling the country with her mother Alice. Savannah loved her mother with all of her heart and adored everything she did. Even though they didn¿t eat every night and barely got by during those years, Savannah was always happy. But when Alice finally settles down and marries Jack, things drastically change. Savannah gets a little brother named Henry. Jack treats Henry great since he is his own kindred, but Savannah becomes just an extra. With Alice working a night shift, she is hardly around when Savannah is, so Jack can treat Savannah how he pleases. Jack drinks too often and lets his anger out on Savannah. When Savannah has finally had enough, she takes Henry and leaves town. They travel to New York City where Savannah meets up with Matt, an old friend who gives her a place to stay for the night. But when Jack figures out where they are from Matt¿s girlfriend Kurti, things get chaotic. Savannah knows she can¿t stay there because Jack is on his way. Henry and she take a bus to Maine to stay with her great-aunt Jane. Savannah calls Alice and gives her the recent details, and Alice isn¿t happy, but she is happy to hear from her. Jack learns that Alice has talked to Savannah and contacts the police and reports Savnnah and Henry as two runaways. Savannah will do anything possible to avoid going back home to Jack. But how do you escape the police? She¿s not sure, but she sure will give it a good try. Stealing Henry was a really great book. It combined the intriguing adventures of two runaways with a hint of mystery and romance perfectly. It was a book that made you want to keep reading page after page. It was an absolutely awesome book that I definitely encourge others to read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2005

    A great book.

    This is a fast paced story that will appeal to teens and adults alike. MacCullough's style is poetic, and the story is compelling. Highly recommended.

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