4.0 10
by Susan Richards Shreve, Susan Shreve

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Alyssa Reed's life is a mess. Her parents can't stop fighting. Her mother won't stop crying. Alyssa's father has decided to move the family to a new town, and to move himself to a separate apartment. Nobody gave Alyssa a choice.So Alyssa decides to take control. She renames herself Blister and starts fighting back in her own way. Blister will take on her new school…  See more details below


Alyssa Reed's life is a mess. Her parents can't stop fighting. Her mother won't stop crying. Alyssa's father has decided to move the family to a new town, and to move himself to a separate apartment. Nobody gave Alyssa a choice.So Alyssa decides to take control. She renames herself Blister and starts fighting back in her own way. Blister will take on her new school with a new identity, a new wardrobe (stolen from her father's girlfriend), and a raw, new attitude that nobody can ignore. Not even the cheerleaders.Look out world -- here comes Blister!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The feisty, remarkably resourceful girl who came to Jonah's aid in Jonah the Whale and How He Became Incredibly Famous takes center stage in this heartrending novel. After Alyssa's sister is stillborn, her mother slips into a deep depression and her father moves the family from their farmhouse to a cramped apartment in North Haven, Conn. When her father later tells her that he is moving out of the apartment, the 10-year-old announces that she is replacing her given name with Blister, "Like when your shoes are too tight." At her new school, Blister "assume[s] a role of invented self-confidence," but fails to break into the fifth-grade cliques, despite reassuring her parents that she is making many new friends. On a weekend visit to her father's apartment, the child opens a suitcase stashed under his bed and discovers a cache of women's clothing and jewelry, some of which she takes with her when she leaves. How Blister uses these purloined items to seek revenge on her father and to impress her classmates enhances the poignancy of Shreve's narrative, which offers razor-sharp insight into the mind of this troubled yet resilient heroine. With a tightly woven plot and entirely convincing characters (Blister's supportive and eccentric grandmother is a standout), Shreve again proves herself an inspired and inspiring storyteller. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Being a ten-year-old girl has its own special set of struggles. Add to them the stillbirth of a much-longed-for sibling, your mother's nervous breakdown, the move to a new place and the unraveling of your parents' marriage, and you'll understand why Alyssa Reed changes her name to "Blister." After being pinched and squished in so many ways, she builds a callus over her heart and decides she'll never rely on anyone but herself again. She reinvents herself, becoming a cool-as-ice loner with wild clothing that she steals from her father's new girlfriend. By being someone else, someone different, she can ignore all the sorrow in her life. This sounds like one of the "problem novels" of the 1980s, but it is as different from that genre as fast food is from cuisine. Shreve's prose is spare but choice, with characters so memorable that young readers will clamor for a sequel. She is particularly keen-eyed about the interaction among preteen girls, both the "in" crowd and its satellites. 2001, Arthur A Levine/Scholastic, $15.95. Ages 10 up. Reviewer:Donna Freedman
The hot-pink jacket, like the self-chosen name "Blister," proves just the right cover for Alyssa Reed, the trusty, spunky ten-year-old whose very sense of self endures flames of sadness, anger, and injustice. Devastated by a stillborn child, Alyssa's parents cannot rekindle their troubled marriage; her father leaves, and her mother falls more deeply into depression. They haven't the room in their own sufferings to recognize Alyssa's pain, and Alyssa sees them as more like the dependent child she'd like to be rather than as the grown-ups on whom she can depend. At least she has Daisy G., a seventy-year-old dancing grandmother who lives her life as fully as possible despite her own broken heart. Although she treats misery by cooking comfort foods, Daisy G. is no warm, cuddly grandma. Wearing lycra and stretching before a full-length mirror, she speaks tautly and truthfully to Alyssa and gives the girl a vision of herself as elastic "instead of resilient." Susan Shreve transposes the child's difficulties at home into the challenges of fitting in at a new school. The situation allows Alyssa to reinvent herself first by changing her name, then by wearing her father's girlfriend's provocative clothing, and finally by trying out for cheerleading. The persona ultimately proves as ill-fitting as the clothing, and, like the fresh skin growing under a blister, a robust self surfaces when her excellence at cheerleading loses to a rigged popularity contest. Although the repeated use of hyphen to set off phrases seems meant to capture Alyssa's voice, this artifice distracts somewhat from the author's genuine accomplishment of shaping a character who feels, thinks, and acts with disarming familiarity.2001, Arthur A. Levine, 128 pages, Mercier
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-When Alyssa Reed's long-awaited sister is born dead, the 10-year-old hides in the willow tree in the yard. This is only the beginning of her isolation. Her mother is deeply depressed and is briefly institutionalized. Her father, who had been spending more and more time away from the family before the pregnancy, decides to leave, after moving his wife and daughter from their old farmhouse into a small apartment. Alyssa changes her name to Blister, and she sets out to reinvent herself in order to become one of the popular fifth-grade girls at her new school. When she finds a suitcase full of women's clothes and jewelry under her father's bed, she takes them and makes them part of her new image, hoping to force her father to admit to having a girlfriend. Although nothing-even her attempts to make the cheerleading squad-goes according to plan, Blister constantly proves that she is "elastic," and bounces back. Shreve pulls no punches in this all-too-believable story. The sharp, detailed descriptions capture the youngster's every thought and emotion as she realizes the ineffectuality of her parents and struggles to gain some control over her life. Although she takes center stage, all of the characters are perfectly drawn, from her helpless, despondent mother to her eccentric, spirited grandmother, who teaches the child the importance of resilience. While this is definitely not a light, entertaining story, readers will find themselves cheering for a remarkable girl they will not soon forget.-Ashley Larsen, Woodside Library, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A ten-year-old girl goes about the task of re-creating herself when both her parents fail her utterly in this exploration of the backstory of a character first introduced in Shreve's Jonah, the Whale (1998). Alyssa Reed has always thought her life was just about perfect, until the truth of her parents' failing marriage confronts her starkly after her eagerly awaited little sister is stillborn. In fairly short order, her family moves away from their idyllic country home-and her delightfully feisty grandmother, a septuagenarian dance champion-to a featureless apartment complex in the city, and then her father moves out altogether, leaving Alyssa alone with her severely depressed mother. It is then that she christens herself "Blister": "Since she couldn't depend on her mother and father, who had turned out to be made of breakable glass, then she'd depend on herself. After all, she was ‘elastic' . . . " Blister's self-possession and sometimes crystalline awareness of the way of the world ("You decide we move, and so we move. That's control, and I don't have it," she tells her father) seem out of step with her previously sheltered existence and quite un-childlike, but her essential struggle to regain control over a life that's turned upside-down has the ring of truth. Elaborate (and psychologically perfect) daydreams form the foundations of plots to separate her father from her new girlfriend and to achieve fifth-grade popularity via cheerleading. They then fizzle when they confront reality, but the reader gets the sense that Blister won't be down for long. Spunky and resolute, Blister is a character many readers will understand intimately. (Fiction. 8-12)

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Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.92(w) x 8.14(h) x 0.65(d)
820L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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Blister 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book Review Outline Book title and author: Blister by: Susan Shreve Title of review: A great book Number of stars (1 to 5):3 stars Introduction This book is about a ten year old girl named Alyssa with an ordinary life. She lives on a farm with her parents, and has lots of friends. But one day her whole life changes when her baby sister is born dead. She and her mom move away to an apartment, while her father moves away to a different apartment. She goes to a new school and gives herself the nickname Blister. I really enjoyed this book and I believe this book is good for all teenagers to read. Description and summary of main points The main point of the book is to explain the hardships that Alyssa and her family go through after the death of her baby sister. I thought the book was a great sad story for anybody who likes to read a good book. Evaluation Blister is a story about a family bouncing back from the death of a baby. The book explains how hard it is for a family to lose a loved one, and it proves a point that you can recover from it. The book Blister taught a lesson to be patient and to love anyway. Conclusion The book was written for young readers to enjoy and to learn a lesson from. The main point of Blister is to show people that you can overcome anything if you try. I liked the book a lot and think it is a good book for all teens to read. Your final review Blister is a good book for anybody who needs inspiration. It is also good for teens who want to learn a good long lesson.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is disapointing, b/c everything that has the possibility of turning out bad, does. I could tell the baby died, I could tell they divorced, I could tell he had a girlfriend, and I could tell she didnt make ccheerleading. the ONLY surprise in this book was I thought her mom was gonna die when blister came home from school, but I was wrong about that. this book is about a girl whos life sucks, but unlike most books I have read, she doesnt get over it and thinks she is the only one with a bad life. She is a pathetic liar who just gets in the way and needs to do a reality check. Her grandma is the ponly interesting character in the book. The only scene I likes was when she was trying on clothes b/c I am a shoppoholic and like to design clothes, so it gave me some really poor ideas.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i read this book about two years ago and absolutely loved it and then just recently read the second one and loved it even more but i would definitely say to read this one first to understand the second one ! ! !
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was one of the most confusing books i had EVER read. I didn't read all of it, but it was just boring and confusing, in my opinion. I don't understand how anyone could've liked it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i love books but this book was amazing its more for teens and preteens not for little girls its the best book i recamend it to everyone who is a girl and a tenn/ preteen thanks!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Blister is a book for the teenage and preteen girls.Girls can use this book alot for hard things in life.It is about the many diffucult things in life that you must overcome in life.You know what they say if twhat doesnt kill you makes you stronger.And i will stick to that phrase for as long as i can.I recomend this book to must and all girls that need help in life and well whose dosent need help in life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hey whats up? Damn this is a rad book!It has everythgin in it from Scott Raynor and the early days to Travis Barker and Blink182's early fame with their hit release Enema of the State! It's hilarious! It HAS to be my favorite Blink182 book of all time!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Omg, this is like for anybody who is in love with blink-182...nobody more than me, of course, because Tom Delonge IS my husband (for five years now..) and in this book, the quotes, the pictures..honestly, other than buying their cd's its my favorite buy! It gives so much history and funny stories, it's hilarious, you won't regret it!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Blister' is a intense and sad story--up until she starts taking control! Look out, because Blister won't stop at anything. Shreve really uses her common sense, and makes this story come to life.