Country Girl, City Girl by Lisa Clough | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Country Girl, City Girl

Country Girl, City Girl

3.5 7
by Lisa Jahn-Clough
     
 

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Phoebe Sharp has long red braids. She wears old beat-up sneakers and clothes from Goodwill. She lives with her father and brother on a small farm in Maine, where she reads fairy tales to her goats and snaps pictures with her Instamatic camera. Phoebe doesn’t have a single friend, never mind a boyfriend—that is, not until she meets Melita.

Melita

Overview

Phoebe Sharp has long red braids. She wears old beat-up sneakers and clothes from Goodwill. She lives with her father and brother on a small farm in Maine, where she reads fairy tales to her goats and snaps pictures with her Instamatic camera. Phoebe doesn’t have a single friend, never mind a boyfriend—that is, not until she meets Melita.

Melita arrives at the Sharps’ farm in a see-through T-shirt and strappy platform sandals that show off her drawn-on “tattoo.” With her caramel-colored skin, stylish clothes, and urban attitude, Melita seems as different from Phoebe as two teenage girls could be. Through the summer, the girls grow to know each other. As their friendship develops, confusing feelings also begin to emerge. Could their friendship be deepening into something more?

Editorial Reviews

VOYA
Sheltered on a small farm in rural Maine, Phoebe finds that the summer preceding eighth grade is becoming fuller than she could have imagined when olive-skinned Melita comes from New York City to stay. Initially Phoebe's world consists of her father, a sweet man still grieving for Phoebe's long-deceased mother; her older brother, Paul; Michael, who helps out on the farm; her Instamatic camera; and animals. She reads to Petunia, the pregnant nanny goat, daily. Then Gerelyn, her mom's best friend from college, phones seeking a place for her daughter, Melita, while Gerelyn is institutionalized. About the only thing that Phoebe knows of her mother is that they share the same flaming-red hair, but Gerelyn provides a link to a time when her mother was alive. When Melita brings city views to the farm, Phoebe grows in unexpected ways. Long sweet on older Michael, she is unprepared to find herself falling for Melita after a simple practice kiss, and jealous when a visit to New York finds Melita interested in a boy. With no female mentor in whom to confide, Phoebe sorts through her confusion alone. Although at the very end Phoebe develops self-awareness and understanding beyond her years, the conclusion is satisfying as she reflects on all that she has learned in two months. Smoothly told, with feminist sensibilities and references to Grimms' Fairy Tales, this novel engages readers with a fully developed protagonist who demands sympathy from her reader. It will appeal to fans of Nancy Garden's Annie on My Mind (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1982/VOYA August 1982). VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8;Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, Walter Lorraine Books/Houghton Mifflin, 176p., $15. Ages 11 to 18.
—Cynthia Winfield
Children's Literature
The teenage years can be a very confusing time even for the most confident young person. Phoebe's mom died when she was two years old. She lives in Maine with her brother and dad and although she loves taking care of the goats, sheep and chicken that her family keeps, life can be very lonely at times. Melita is from New York City and is very sophisticated, trendy and very self-confident. When the two girls meet their worlds collide. Their mothers were best friends and it was Phoebe's mother who hoped the two girls could get to know each other and become friends as their moms had been. With this wish in mind, Melita leaves New York City and travels to Maine to visit Phoebe. Melita also is visiting because her mom recently has tried to commit suicide and she has no where else to stay while her mom recuperates. Confusing times equal confusing feelings. Phoebe finds herself thinking about Melita in a "special" way and when Phoebe asks if she has ever kissed a boy, Melita offers to let Phoebe "practice" with her. This is a story of true friendship and older readers will identify with many of the emotional struggles the two girls go through as they try to find the right course for their friendship. 2004, Walter Lorraine Books, Ages 12 up.
—Sue Reichard
School Library Journal
Gr 7-9-Two girls thrown together by chance forge an exceptionally close friendship, and one has the courage to admit that for her it is more than platonic. Phoebe has grown up on a farm in Maine. During the summer before eighth grade, Melita, slightly older and worlds more sophisticated, comes to stay. Melita, child of a single, psychologically troubled mother, and Phoebe, child of a widower, are both lonely, although they express it differently. Glamorous Melita entrances shy, literary Phoebe, who likes being behind a camera. Together, they feed one another's imaginations and plan a feminist fashion show. After Melita returns to New York, Phoebe visits her. When she sees that her friend has a crush on a boy, she is forced to come to terms with her own feelings. Her range of emotions and the degree to which they drive her behavior are the most successful elements of the book. While the adolescent dialogue doesn't always ring true and the ending is a bit rushed, the confusion, self-doubt, and self-discovery that Phoebe experiences will be familiar to readers. The lesbian issue is unresolved and relatively low-key, allowing it to be as important or unimportant as readers make it. A shy, unpolished girl in the throes of growing up having something to offer to a fashion maven will be a welcome idea to the many girls for whom glamour and popularity seem as distant as the moon.-Faith Brautigam, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A story with feminist and lesbian overtones follows 13-year-old Phoebe, raised on an isolated Maine farm, in her developing friendship with Melita, the 14-year-old daughter of an unstable actress from New York City. Phoebe has no real friends, so when Melita arrives for a visit, Phoebe is apprehensive. Soon, however, she becomes fascinated with Melita's sophistication. She begins to feel a strong attraction to Melita, especially after they practice kissing, and is devastated when she believes Melita rejects her as the two girls later spend time in New York. Jahn-Clough shows insight into Phoebe's developing personality, but other characters seem sketched in, changing their behavior to become instantly reasonable when they realize they've hurt Phoebe. Phoebe's lesbian feelings are not resolved by the end, leaving her simply as a growing girl with more confidence, better able to make friends and join the world. (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher

Jahn-Clough shows insight into Phoebe's developing personality.
—Kirkus Reviews

A shy unpolished girl in the throes of growing up having something to offer to a fashion maven will be a welcome idea to the many girls for whom glamour and popularity seem as distant as the moon.
—School Library Journal

Smoothly told, with feminist sensibilities and references to Grimms' Fairy Tales, this novel engages readers with a fully developed protagonist who demands sympathy from her reader.
—VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547223223
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
05/18/2009
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Lisa Jahn-Clough has written and illustrated a number of books for young children, including Alicia Has a Bad Day, My Friend and I, Missing Molly, Simon and Molly Plus Hester, and On the Hill, as well as her debut young adult novel Country Girl, City Girl. She is the chair of the illustration program at Maine College of Art and also teaches at the Vermont College Writing for Children and Young Adults program. She lives in Portland, Maine.

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Country Girl, City Girl 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't believe I paid $11.00 for this for my nook... only to find out it's only 134 pages... wth??
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm a guy, and I was easily drawn into this story about a girl who is confused over her feelings for another girl. A great coming of age story that never spiraled into cliche.