Gina. Jamie. Father. Bear

Overview

Gina's mother has left the family. Jamie's too. And now their fathers are acting, well, weird.

In Cleveland, Gina's dad leaves home, each morning way too early for work. Deep in the woods -- is it near, is it far? -- Jamie's Da must hunt such a distance from their cottage that his children never see him in daylight.

Hurt by what they are losing and afraid of what they might find, Gina and Jamie set out to follow their fathers -- she down I-77, ...

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Overview

Gina's mother has left the family. Jamie's too. And now their fathers are acting, well, weird.

In Cleveland, Gina's dad leaves home, each morning way too early for work. Deep in the woods -- is it near, is it far? -- Jamie's Da must hunt such a distance from their cottage that his children never see him in daylight.

Hurt by what they are losing and afraid of what they might find, Gina and Jamie set out to follow their fathers -- she down I-77, he down a path where Da's tracks soon give way to a bear's. They tell their stories by turns, unaware of each other till those stories turn them face-to-face.

What happens then is astonishing, beautiful -- out of this world.

Or is it?

The lives of two young people, one in Ohio and one in another dimension, intersect as they struggle to hold their single-parent families together and to explain the behavioral changes they see in their fathers.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this finely drawn tale, Lyon (Borrowed Children) weaves parallel story lines into a novel of uncommon beauty that incorporates the mysterious bonds between parents and children, love and legend. Gina and her family live in modern-day Cleveland; Jamie and his family in some unnamed, vaguely Celtic past. Both of their lives are turned upside-down when their respective mothers leave and their fathers engage in puzzling behavior. While Gina surreptitiously follows her normally predictable, meticulous surgeon father to a most unexpected destination-a psychic-Jamie tracks his own father into the forbidden woods, leading to an unsettling encounter with a bear. Could the creature be his father transformed? Twining a variation of the selkie legend into her tale, Lyon stitches more than a touch of magic into the story's fabric as Gina's and Jamie's worlds intersect, and each helps restore peace to their heartbroken families in an astonishing way. Lyon expertly differentiates the voices of her narrators, which, though distinct, blend harmoniously as their stories unfold through alternating chapters. Her subtle theme-that children remain open to the inexplicable wonders of life that adults have given up on-may well inspire readers to explore the mysteries in their own lives. Lyon's poet-roots inform her vivid imagery ("It was a shiny morning, brim with birdcry") and metaphoric prose ("She has a great laugh, like glitter spilling"). A lyrical, memorable tale. Ages 11-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-A thought-provoking contemporary novel with elements of fantasy. Gina lives with her father and brother in Cleveland, OH, Jamie with his father and sisters in a preindustrial enchanted forest. When Gina embarks on a soul journey to discover the truth about her father's odd behavior, she arrives in Jamie's world, where he was imprisoned while searching for his own father's secret. Gina frees Jamie before she returns home, and their brief encounter brings some peace to Jamie's family and, perhaps, to her own. The young people tell their stories in alternating chapters using diction appropriate for their respective worlds. Occasional details such as Gina's crush on a schoolmate detract from the narrative thrust, but Lyon's skillful, poetic use of language gives the situations and characters vitality. Jamie's predicament and rescue are described in highly symbolic terms; while the images are intriguing, their meanings resist easy interpretation. When Gina asks her spirit guide, a psychic named Esther, to explain whether her soul journey affected her family in Cleveland, Esther answers, "I'm afraid I can't provide the kind of explanation you want-this is not like a math problem." This ambiguity will frustrate some readers but appeal to others, who will ponder the two stories' many points of connection: absent mothers, haunted fathers, a ring that travels between the worlds, the healing that comes with the end of silence.-Beth Wright, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, VT Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Lyon (One Lucky Girl, 2000, etc.) twines parallel tales around two young people whose fathers, both single parents, keep disappearing on mysterious errands. Though Gina lives in Ohio and Jamie in a place where magic rules, both share a common concern. Jamie’s father not only insists on hunting and gathering herbs alone, but has forbidden him even to enter the nearby forest, while Gina, daughter of a divorced Shaker Heights doctor, has become aware that her father has taken to leaving the house unusually early in the morning. In alternating chapters, Gina and Jamie slowly nerve themselves to follow their parents, and make shocking discoveries: Gina’s meets a woman (though not for what she thinks), and Jamie’s becomes a huge, white bear. As it turns out, both seemingly strong, inflexible men are waging desperate struggles with concealed guilt and grief—but once their secrets are out, both show a heartening ability to accept, even embrace, changes in themselves and their lives. Gina and Jamie do make a brief climactic connection across universes, but the central figures here are the two men, the central relationships the ones between parents and children. The metaphorical currents lie close enough to the surface for reflective younger readers to perceive, but unlike Lowry’s The Giver (1993) and its sequel Gathering Blue (2000) they don’t overwhelm the characters or the plot. Rich, subtle storytelling. (Fiction. 11-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689843709
  • Publisher: Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books
  • Publication date: 9/1/1902
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 11 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.18 (w) x 8.26 (h) x 0.62 (d)

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