Every Day After [NOOK Book]


It's been two months since Lizzie's daddy disappeared due to the awful Depression. Lizzie's praying he'll return to Bittersweet, Alabama, for her birthday. It won't feel special without him, what with Lizzie's Mama being so sad she won't even talk and the bank nipping at their heels for a mortgage payment.

Daddy expected her to be the best at any cost. But Lizzie claims ...
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Every Day After

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It's been two months since Lizzie's daddy disappeared due to the awful Depression. Lizzie's praying he'll return to Bittersweet, Alabama, for her birthday. It won't feel special without him, what with Lizzie's Mama being so sad she won't even talk and the bank nipping at their heels for a mortgage payment.

Daddy expected her to be the best at any cost. But Lizzie claims "that cost me my top grades and my best friend. It's dumped 'em both square into Erin's hands. She's gone batty if she thinks she's gonna get me carted off to the orphanage."

While Lizzie waits, she gets comfort writing in her journal. As time passes, she can only picture her daddy's face by opening her locket. If others can get by, why did her daddy leave? If he doesn't return, how can she overcome the same obstacles that drove him away?
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Lisa Colozza Cocca
Readers are immediately pulled into the world of eleven-year-old Lizzie Hawkins. The country is in the throes of the Great Depression and many of the residents of Bittersweet, Alabama have been hit hard. Among the worst hit are the families of Lizzie and of Lizzie's best friend Ben. Lizzie's father has abandoned the family. Her mother is in an almost catatonic state. This leaves the laundry, chores, and keeping the family fed responsibilities on Lizzie's shoulders. Lizzie tries to do all of this without anyone but Ben knowing the situation. She is afraid if others find out she will lose her mother, too. Ben's father has passed away leaving Ben and his mother unable to pay the mortgage. Ben drops out of school to work to earn enough to help his mother pay the bills. Despite their efforts, the bank takes the home. Another classmate, Erin, adds further problems to Lizzie's life. There is an overwhelming sense of sadness in the story, but there is also a sense of hope and determination. The cast of characters include both kind and cruel people and Lizzie herself is imperfect. The story has a satisfying ending without tying all of the problems up with a neat little bow. Readers are left knowing Lizzie's problems are not all behind her, but believing she will survive and thrive. Reviewer: Lisa Colozza Cocca
School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—Lizzie and Ben have a lot in common. Eleven years old, they were born days apart, their mothers were once best friends, and they recently lost their fathers, although Ben's died, while Lizzie's left Alabama for parts unknown. Lizzie's father left her a gold locket that once belonged to her paternal grandmother; the slingshot his dad made becomes Ben's constant companion. These talismans figure in the resolution of the story. Scratching out a living in a small town during the Depression becomes even harder when Lizzie's mother's sadness stops her from functioning. The girl is left to struggle to keep her grades up, maintain daily chores, and handle a rivalry with a mean-spirited girl, Erin. Making matters worse, it seems that Ben has befriended Erin. He is wise beyond his age and recognizes Lizzie for whom she is. He tolerates her selfishness until it escalates, forcing him away. Lizzie keeps a journal with her innermost thoughts and feelings, providing insight into the behaviors she describes in her narration. Erin and her mother, quite unlikable characters, attempt unsuccessfully to further separate Lizzie's family (an orphanage for her, an institution for her mother). The plot is at times tense, with a contrived albeit satisfying conclusion. The characters are memorable. Lizzie is often self-absorbed, unsympathetic, and highly competitive, but as she matures, she recognizes these traits in herself and tries to grow. Often too gentle, Ben can finally articulate his feelings to Lizzie. Readers will likely see parallels between Lizzie's time and personality and their own.—Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library
Publishers Weekly
Set in 1932 in small-town Alabama, Golden’s folksy debut details the struggles and injustices facing 11-year-old Lizzie Hawkins after her father loses his job and leaves town. Stuck with an overdue mortgage and a mother paralyzed by depression, Lizzie believes she just has to hold it together until her father returns, as she is sure he will. Her best friend Ben is supportive but in a similar situation, and he grows tired of Lizzie’s single-minded focus on her own problems. Between the pressures of working, keeping up her grades, staying one step ahead of her nemesis at school, and hiding the truth about her home life (Lizzie fears her mother will be sent to an institution and she herself to an orphanage), Lizzie is too busy to see that she may need to reach out for help. The novel’s Southern dialect and Depression-era setting are solidly evoked—debut author Golden pulled from her own family’s history to create Lizzie’s story. If the characters sometimes come across as one-note, Lizzie’s innate resilience and determination are memorable and inspiring. Ages 9–12. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
The year Lizzie Hawkins turns 12, she loses her father, her treasured locket and her position as best student in her class--but narrowly avoids losing a friend. Times are hard in Bittersweet, Ala., in 1932. Lizzie's out-of-work father has vanished. Her mother has become silent and unresponsive. Determined not to ask for help, the sixth-grader struggles to cook, wash, keep house and garden, as well as doing the outside mending her mother used to take in to pay the mortgage. Worse, a bullying classmate, determined to steal Lizzie's academic standing as well as her friend, threatens to reveal her circumstances. Caught up in her own troubles, Lizzie fails to notice that her best friend Ben's life is even more difficult. As Lizzie tells her story, interspersing it with occasional long journal entries, readers will become more and more impatient with her stubbornness. But, as one of the chapter-heading proverbs preaches, "The greatest conqueror is he who conquers himself," and providentially, she does. There is a clear, pleasing sense of time and place in this debut novel, created through solid details of a difficult daily life. Lizzie's voice isn't always convincing, especially when she writes. But her determination is commendable. Inspired by the writer's grandparents' experiences, this Depression-era story should resonate with modern middle-grade readers. (Historical fiction. 10-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307983121
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 6/11/2013
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 649,853
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

LAURA GOLDEN loved listening to older generations spin tales about "the good ol' days." She was inspired to write this story based in part on her family history.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Lizzie Hawkins' life is going way downhill. Her daddy left her,

    Lizzie Hawkins' life is going way downhill. Her daddy left her, her mama won't do anything other than sit and stare, the bank is nagging for the mortgage on the house, and the pressure of having the best grades in school is killing her. Then, a spoiled brat named Erin comes in and tries her very hardest to make Lizzie go to the orphanage and her mother to a mental asylum. On top of that, Erin tries to snag Lizzie's best friend Ben. How is Lizzie supposed to handle all this stress? I liked this book quite a bit. Lizzie is a really likable character and almost all of her reactions are something along the lines of what i would do. Ben was also a good character, but he trusts a bit too easily. Each character has their own flaws and problems, which makes them all very well described. The book took place right after the Great Depression, and they described everything perfectly. The book did not have any unnecessary parts in the story, which is really good. Its written in first person, which is really nice. The flow was a bit tedious in the beginning, but evens out and becomes very well written. I really enjoyed this book, and I recommend this to teens ages 11-15. 

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  • Posted October 31, 2013

    I enjoyed reading this book. The only reason I didn't give it fi

    I enjoyed reading this book. The only reason I didn't give it five stars was because the fighting between Lizzie and Erin really wore on me, especially when they did it right in front of adults. I know the author wanted to paint Erin in a bad light, but I can't believe she didn't have one ounce of good in her. Just seemed a bit much as times. But, otherwise great book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2013

    If you like children's historical novels, check out this Depress

    If you like children's historical novels, check out this Depression-era story of a determined 12-year-old girl, Lizzie Hawkins, set in the particularly hard-bitten south. Lizzie's voice was in my head from page one, and never let go throughout. The book has an innocence to it, yet is full of the fire of its main character, as well as the grit of the unimaginably difficult situation facing her: holding her life together, and her mama’s, after her adored daddy—the family breadwinner—has left. You can bet situations like this were not uncommon at that time, which makes the book all the more poignant. This is real stuff, which according to the author’s bio, she gleaned firsthand from family elders who actually lived it.

    Lizzie is feisty and headstrong, admirable in her determination and resourcefulness, which makes her very likable—a good thing, as at times, she’s also downright annoying. And yet the author still manages to make her likable. We see Lizzie's flaws and witness the reasons her friendship with the lovely Ben begins to fall apart, while she blithely tells events the way she sees them—often very differently from the way we do, (except when it comes to the horrid Erin Sawyer). This dichotomy is hard enough for an author to pull off in a third-person narrative, IMO, but Laura Golden somehow manages to make us see Lizzie as she is, even though Lizzie herself is blind to the faults that keep leading her into hot water.

    Though Every Day After reflects a very specific time in history, it’s also woven with issues which are as relevant today as they were then: poverty, bullying (including an understanding of why this book’s bully is as she is), abandonment, mother-daughter role reversal (Lizzie having to fend for her mom, who’s become almost comatose with grief at the dad's departure). Yet for all the emotional weight in this book, it never becomes heavy, and for and all Lizzie’s flaws, one thing she can’t be accused of is being self-pitying, or dull, or pessimistic. Her courage had me rooting for her all the way.

    Which of us sees ourselves clearly? We like to think we do, which is precisely one of Lizzie’s flaws; but it’s only when realization dawns—as with any of us—that she’s able to make the most of her strengths and pull together a positive ending (without, however, being sappy; some circumstances don’t change, after all). Lizzie is a character who will inspire readers her own age to begin to look at themselves and find similar flaws—and, more importantly, gifts.

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