Canary

Canary

4.8 15
by Rachele Alpine
     
 

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In this debut novel, a high school girl faces the pain, shame, and uncertainty that come with sexual abuse. With the passing of her mother, Kate Franklin’s life unravels at the seams as she loses the only emotional mooring in her family. Her dad shuts down completely, and her brother enlists in the army. Things start looking better when her dad is hired to… See more details below

Overview


In this debut novel, a high school girl faces the pain, shame, and uncertainty that come with sexual abuse. With the passing of her mother, Kate Franklin’s life unravels at the seams as she loses the only emotional mooring in her family. Her dad shuts down completely, and her brother enlists in the army. Things start looking better when her dad is hired to coach at Beacon Prep, home of one of the best basketball teams in the state. In a blog of prose and poetry, Kate chronicles her new world—dating a basketball player, being caught up in a world of idolatry and entitlement, and discovering the perks the inner circle enjoys. Then Kate’s fragile life shatters once again when one of her boyfriend’s teammates assaults her at a party. Although she knows she should speak out, her dad’s vehemently against it and so, like a canary sent into a mine to test toxicity levels and protect miners, Kate alone breathes the poisonous secrets to protect her dad and the team. The once welcoming community has betrayed Kate, her family is disintegrating, and she’s on her own to grapple with whether to stay quiet or speak out and expose a town’s hero and destroy her father’s career.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is a captivating tale that addresses a lot of contemporary issues in a sensitive and thought-provoking way." —Nicki J. Markus, author, Day-Walker and Time Keepers

"A searing and tender portrait of the complexities of high school friendships, dating and privilege. Canary is a testament to the power of the hard-won truths." —Daisy Whitney, author, The Mockingbirds and When You Were Here

"Rachele Alpine's Canary sings the truth about what happens when we put our high school heroes on a pedestal and give them the power to act like villains." —Erin Jade Lange, author, Butter

"The subtle way Rachele Alpine addresses love, loss, popularity, and friendship makes this book a realistic and arresting read. For anyone who ever struggled with frenemies and fitting in, Canary is an important addition to contemporary YA discussions." —Jennifer Brown, author, Hate List

"Alpine's Canary is a deeply-felt, poignant account of someone trying to find strength in a world that has hurled its worst at her. Alpine has created a compelling narrator in Kate and the challenges she must face are both realistic and heartbreaking." —Colleen Clayton, author, What Happens Next

"I also admire how the subtexts of family, of privilege and how it is exploited, of bullying, and the sexual vulnerability of many girls are presented. . . . It is a powerful story that evokes intense emotions. . . . Grab a copy of Canary."  —Jhobell Kristyl, Book Maven

"I also admire how the subtexts of family, of privilege and how it is exploited, of bullying, and the sexual vulnerability of many girls are presented. . . . It is a powerful story that evokes intense emotions. . . . I encourage you to grab a copy of Canary. . . ." —Jhobell Kristyl, Book Maven

“Sometimes I feel like I need a lot of words to describe a story and convince people to read it. This time I’m not going to. Canary is so much better than that. I need not convince you anymore.” —Open Book Society

VOYA - Jan Chapman
Kate is a high school student who has had more than her fair share of loss. Her mother recently died of cancer, and her father, a basketball coach for Beacon, an elite private school, wants Kate and her brother to switch from their public school to Beacon. Kate's brother, Brent, is adamantly opposed to the change, but Kate is willing to give it a go. At Beacon, she quickly makes friends with the popular crowd and finds a boyfriend on the basketball team. But when Kate is assaulted by a member of the basketball team, her decision to speak out will test the limits of her friendships and even her relationship with her father. This is a contemporary novel that will resonate with many teens and is especially topical considering a recent high-profile case of rape involving high school football players. Along with Kate, the reader experiences her gradual and horrified realization of the school's complicity in covering up the abuses that have gone unchallenged for years. Readers share her despair at her father's unwillingness to go public and her outrage at what has happened in the past and is continuing to happen. Becoming a whistleblower does not come easily to her, as she just wants to fit in. Many teens will identify with her struggle, and many will see their own high school environment, particularly in respect to the adulation of athletes, mirrored in this compelling story. Teens will also like the format of the novel, told in blog posts and verse reminiscent of Ellen Hopkins's popular "problem" novels. Reviewer: Jan Chapman
School Library Journal
10/01/2013
Gr 9 Up—When her father gets a job as the basketball coach at an exclusive private school, Kate sees the included tuition as a chance to escape her old school and the sympathetic glances of classmates and teachers who are aware of her mother's death. At Beacon, basketball is everything and the players are treated as gods; their shortcomings are overlooked, and their cheating condoned. Kate, as daughter of the coach, is granted ingress to the popular group and becomes one of the satellites orbiting around them. When she begins dating a team member, her life becomes absorbed by practices, games, and parties. She realizes that the boys expect favors-and that most of the girls are willing to do whatever it takes to be the girlfriend of a player. One of the seniors hooks up with every girl he can, usually a different one at every party. Kate thinks, as Jack's girlfriend, that she is safe, but she finds out she's not when Luke slips something into her drink and then tries to rape her. When Jack doesn't believe her about what happened, she starts separating herself from her former friends, but after a topless picture of her starts circulating she decides to fight back, making her private blog public after her father does nothing that will endanger his players. It's unfortunate that so little discussion is devoted to the aftermath, especially regarding the reaction of peers and the administration. Not dealing with the fallout seems like a dodge. Still, this novel delivers an indictment of athletic privilege and warns of the dangers of the rampant use of alcohol by teens, as well as casual sex.—Suanne B. Roush, Osceola High School, Seminole, FL
Kirkus Reviews
In an engrossing, carefully unfolding drama, sophomore Kate Franklin adjusts to a new school, a powerful set of friends and a family that is falling apart. After their mother's death two years earlier, Kate and Brett's father threw himself into his work. Now hired to coach the basketball team at an elite prep school, he decrees that his children will transfer to Beacon from their public high school. Kate falls in easily with the popular crowd, helped, perhaps, by their interest in her father's prestigious position. Despite her enthusiasm about her new friends and boyfriend, Jack, readers can see her discomfort when Jack cheats off her homework or pressures her for sex and when her friends bully and insult her brother. When Brett announces his decision to enlist in the Army, Kate is devastated, but the popular crowd has no patience for her becoming sad and withdrawn. The incidents that lead to Kate's friends turning on her, including a sexual assault, are realistically and painfully drawn. Chapters begin with poems and essays of varying quality, although as Kate never talks about writing in her narration, the revelation late in the book that these pieces come from her own private blog is somewhat unconvincing. Overall, a sophisticated, evocative portrait of a teen girl finding her place among peers and family. (Fiction. 14-18)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781605425870
Publisher:
Medallion Media Group
Publication date:
08/01/2013
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
705,462
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.50(d)
Lexile:
700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 18 Years

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Canary


By Rachele Alpine

Medallion Press, Inc.

Copyright © 2013 Rachele Alpine
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60542-587-0


CHAPTER 1

www.allmytruths.com


Today's Truth: You can't count on anyone but yourself.

Your dad will leave you when you are twelve.

He won't empty his closet or pack up his car like you see dads do in old after-school specials.

He won't move in with a lover closer to your age than his, an exercise buff who wakes him at the crack of dawn for morning runs and wears short skirts and drinks martinis in bars while texting her girlfriends on her cell phone.

He won't spend his life alone and rent a room in a seedy motel.

He won't invite you and your brother to spend Christmas with him in the tiny, dingy space with a sad-looking, tinsel-covered tree in the corner on a rickety table over a stained carpet.

In fact, he won't leave the house.

He will stay right inside with you and your brother. You will eat dinners together, sit in the same room watching TV, have conversations about everyday matters like the weather and the dwindling supply of food in the fridge. You will do mundane things, such as passing each other in the hall as you head to and from the bathroom and riding in the car together when he takes you to school. Each day will blend into the next.

But from your life, he will be gone.

Posted By: Your Present Self [Sunday, August 11, 12:36 PM]

* * *

My brother, Dad, and I do the majority of our communicating using Post-its. Whoever invented them must make a fortune from the three of us alone.

I'll find them stuck to the bathroom mirror reminding me that Dad "Won't be home until late" or on the kitchen counter with "Money for groceries."

If Brett and I need something signed or want permission to go somewhere, we'll leave notes in places we know our dad will see: the door to the garage, his coffee pot, the bathroom mirror, or his computer screen.

It's worked for us since Mom died. There have been only a few mix-ups when Post-its have fallen off and blown under tables or when one of us broke the regular routine and didn't walk past the spot where the note waited to be read.

But for the most part, we're able to communicate without really communicating. And in my household, nothing says family love more than a day without having to talk to each other. Dad thinks it's brilliant. I think it sucks.

The last Monday of the summer, I woke surprised to find a note stuck to my bathing suit asking, "Meet for dinner at 6 at Garland's Pizza?" When Brett finally dragged himself out of bed two hours later, he confirmed that he'd received the same message stuck to the bathroom mirror.

Garland's Pizza was a little ten-table place the three of us loved. It was only two blocks from our house, a quick solution when there wasn't anything else to eat. These days we ordered from there a lot, but it was always takeout. I couldn't remember the last time we ate in the restaurant together. Dinner at home didn't usually involve conversation. Dad would read the paper while my brother and I fought over the television remote.

I was surprised Dad wanted to meet us there, but I wasn't going to question it. Dad hardly ever spent time with Brett and me anymore. I practically had to tackle him to stay in a room with me for more than five minutes. He always claimed to have important things to do for work—stuff that involved hiding in his office all night, every night.

I spotted Dad as soon as I walked into the place. Even though I'd sat around and done nothing the whole day, I was the last to arrive. He was in the crowded restaurant at a small table. My brother slouched next to him, no doubt angry at having one of the last days of vacation interrupted. He wore his fatigue pants even though it was boiling outside. Brett practically lived in those lame pants.

People were everywhere. Families eating at tables covered in cheesy pizzas. Kids running around with their greasy fingers. Older siblings playing video games against the back wall. Babies wailing along with the music blasting from a jukebox that seemed to play only old Billy Joel songs. The place was such a dive, but that's why people loved it.

I pushed through the crowd and bumped into chairs shoved around tables. It was a major fire hazard, but everyone seemed willing to take the risk for the pizza here. Nabbing a place to sit at Garland's Pizza was a talent, and I was impressed Dad was able to do it.

I slid into an empty seat. "Hey." I picked up a menu and fanned myself. "I'm not late, am I?"

"You're fine. We haven't been here long. Brett already ordered a few pizzas: a cheese, a veggie, and a pepperoni. I figured you'd find something you like between the three of them."

I shrugged. "Sounds good." I pulled my brown hair into a ponytail. It was hot in the restaurant, and my hair was heavy on my neck.

The air conditioner chugged along, apparently wiped out from a full summer of work. Drops of sweat gathered in my bra, and I prayed I wouldn't sweat through my shirt and get nasty pit stains.

"How was your day?" Dad asked.

"Boring." I kept it short; he'd space out if I said much more. "What about yours?"

"Not bad. A lot of the team came to the gym today for a pickup game, and I got to see them shoot around a bit."

"Did any of them seem good? Or more importantly"—I leaned in—"were any of them hot?"

Before Dad could answer, Brett snorted. "I'm sure they loved having you there. Gives them a chance to kiss the new coach's ass."

Dad set down his drink and faced Brett, taking on that lecture look.

A waitress interrupted by setting down a pitcher of Coke and piling napkins and silverware on the table.

I filled my glass and watched the sides sweat. I put my wrists against the moisture, trying to cool down.

"Listen," Dad said, "I've got some important news for both of you."

Brett crossed his arms and focused on the ceiling.

"I've been talking with the principal, Mr. Drew, for a few days now. About not only basketball stuff but other things too. He and the rest of the administration think it would be a good idea for the two of you to become Beacon students."

"You want us to go to Beacon?" I asked. I didn't think enrolling was a possibility. The school was superexpensive. Tuition was probably more than Dad's salary. But maybe I was wrong, and after everything that happened the past year, I liked the idea of leaving behind the memories lingering at my high school.

Brett opened his mouth, but before he could speak, Dad started again.

"You'll be able to start the new school year there. It should be an easy transition."

I nodded, willing him to go on, but he paused.

Brett seized the opportunity. "You promised we didn't have to leave Olmstead High."

Dad sighed. "Brett, wouldn't you rather go to Beacon?"

"No, I wouldn't," he spat back.

A group at a nearby table turned to stare.

I focused on my menu and wished that for once in our lives we could have more than two minutes of peace before Brett and Dad were at each other's throats.

"Calm down," Dad said. "Think about what I'm saying."

"There's nothing to think about. You said I didn't have to go there."

I kicked Brett under the table, but he kicked me right back. I knew he wasn't about to give up. Brett had been picking fights with Dad since Mom died, and it seemed as if they all revolved around basketball. Or, more specifically, the time Dad spent with basketball instead of with us. Brett would never admit it, but I knew he felt as hurt as I did when Dad grabbed a late dinner with some of the coaches or spent the weekend taking one of his star players to a college offering an athletic scholarship. Now that he'd landed his new position, it was even worse. We hardly saw him all summer.

"You promised," Brett hissed.

More and more people turned to look at my family's show.

I slumped in my seat.

Dad probably figured dropping the news in a public place would lessen the chance of a full-blown confrontation. Buzz, wrong answer.

Brett pushed back his chair and nearly knocked down the waitress passing behind him while balancing a pizza.

"Brett, sit down. I need you to listen to me," Dad whispered.

Despite the scene, my stomach fluttered with nervous excitement. Beacon was amazing. I couldn't even begin to imagine what it would be like to go there.

"How can I calm down when you tell me a week before school starts that I won't be starting my senior year at Olmstead High? Instead, I have to go to school with a bunch of rich kids who look down on people like us because we don't go sailing on our daddies' boats or attend parties at country clubs guarded by iron gates. That's not who I am, so why the hell are you doing this?"

"Why? I'll tell you why," Dad shot back. "Because people are talking. They're wondering what the new coach finds so wrong with the school that he can't send his own kids to it."

I tried to catch Brett's eye and said, "Why do you have to be difficult? If you gave Beacon half a chance, you might find out it's not so bad."

Dad looked relieved.

Brett gave me a dirty look.

"Kate's right. I'm sure you'll like it there if you give it a shot."

I felt good, as if I'd done something right and Dad was proud of me.

"How about I tell them exactly what's wrong with the school and why your kids don't want to go there?" Brett said.

Dad wiped his forehead, shiny now with sweat, and tried to discreetly glance around the restaurant.

"Don't worry." Brett threw the sharp-edged words at him. "I don't think your face has been in enough papers yet for everyone here to recognize the new Beacon coach."

He spoke loud enough that anyone who didn't know probably knew now.

"Enough." Dad slammed a fist on the table.

I grabbed my glass as some pop splashed out.

"I get it," Brett continued. "This is about you. You and your position at your great big important private school. I may not be smart enough to score as high as the other kids on those fancy exams you have to take to get into Beacon, but I get it. I get it completely."

"Brett," Dad said, demanding a respect he had lost from Brett a long time before.

"You know," Brett said, "if Mom were still alive, she'd never expect me to do something like this." Brett marched away, winding through the obstacle course of happy families, and shoved open the door so hard it banged against the side of the building.

I turned to Dad to tell him how I felt about leaving Olmstead High to go to Beacon. "I know Brett's being his usual pain in the ass, but I really—"

"Not right now. The two of you really need to stop for a minute and think about what a great opportunity this is for you." Dad dug into a pocket, then pulled money out of his wallet and threw it on the table. "Can you take care of the bill? We'll talk about this later."

"Sure, whatever." I watched him leave through the same door Brett had stormed out of seconds before. This was so typical of Dad. He really hadn't listened to me, and I felt stupid for thinking maybe he would.

Transferring schools made sense, though. My old school was where Mom got sick and I sat worrying about her tests results instead of my own tests and homework. The halls of Olmstead High held friends who stopped acting normal around me, as if I were the sick one; classmates who stared at me, as if I were a freak for losing my mom; and teachers who would put a hand on my shoulder and tell me I could talk to them anytime about anything.

Brett might have been fighting to stay at Olmstead High, but I was ready to run from it. Dad didn't need to convince me. Starting my sophomore year at Beacon was one of the first things in a long time that actually felt right.
(Continues...)


Excerpted from Canary by Rachele Alpine. Copyright © 2013 Rachele Alpine. Excerpted by permission of Medallion Press, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"This is a captivating tale that addresses a lot of contemporary issues in a sensitive and thought-provoking way." —Nicki J. Markus, author, Day-Walker and Time Keepers

"A searing and tender portrait of the complexities of high school friendships, dating and privilege. Canary is a testament to the power of the hard-won truths." —Daisy Whitney, author, The Mockingbirds and When You Were Here

"Rachele Alpine's Canary sings the truth about what happens when we put our high school heroes on a pedestal and give them the power to act like villains." —Erin Jade Lange, author, Butter

"The subtle way Rachele Alpine addresses love, loss, popularity, and friendship makes this book a realistic and arresting read. For anyone who ever struggled with frenemies and fitting in, Canary is an important addition to contemporary YA discussions." —Jennifer Brown, author, Hate List

"Rachele is an author to watch, and I look forward to reading more of her books in the future!" —Trish Doller, author, Something Like Normal and Where the Stars Still Shine

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