Hush

( 32 )

Overview

A powerfully moving novel from a three-time Newbery Honor-winning author

Evie Thomas is not who she used to be. Once she had a best friend, a happy home and a loving grandmother living nearby. Once her name was Toswiah.

Now, everything is different. Her family has been forced to move to a new place and change their identities. But that's not all that has changed. Her once lively father has become depressed and...

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Overview

A powerfully moving novel from a three-time Newbery Honor-winning author

Evie Thomas is not who she used to be. Once she had a best friend, a happy home and a loving grandmother living nearby. Once her name was Toswiah.

Now, everything is different. Her family has been forced to move to a new place and change their identities. But that's not all that has changed. Her once lively father has become depressed and quiet. Her mother leaves teaching behind and clings to a new-found religion. Her only sister is making secret plans to leave.

And Evie, struggling to find her way in a new city where kids aren't friendly and the terrain is as unfamiliar as her name, wonders who she is.

Jacqueline Woodson weaves a fascinating portrait of a thoughtful young girl's coming of age in a world turned upside down

A National Book Award Finalist

Twelve-year-old Toswiah finds her life changed when her family enters the witness protection program.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Finalist for the 2002 National Book Award, Young People's Literature

The Barnes & Noble Review
Jacqueline Woodson, the acclaimed author of such award winners as Miracle's Boys and If You Come Softly, has given us a remarkable novel about one girl's struggle with identity during her family's involvement in the witness protection program.

Through Woodson's poetic prose, we learn about Toswiah's father's testimony against two fellow policemen, her family's clandestine move, and finally, her confusion over her name change to Evie Thomas. In this strange new world, she copes with family members' similar struggles and tries to build a new school life and personality. Woodson provides complex social situations and real personalities in Hush, and as her fans have come to appreciate in her other novels, she paints a quietly intense picture without getting bogged down in dramatics. This tour de force will move and inspire you. Matt Warner

Kathleen Odean
In Woodson's thought-provoking novel, thirteen-year-old Toswiah must take on a new identity when her family enters a witness protection program. Her father, an African-American police officer, has testified against white officers who killed a black teenager. Threats follow, and Toswiah's family moves to an unidentified town to start life over. Toswiah, now called Evie, and her parents and sister cope in different ways, not always successfully, with the painful consequences of the father's act of courage.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When Toswiah Green's father, witness to a murder, does the right thing by testifying against two fellow police officers, he puts his entire family in danger. Now the Greens have fled for their lives, leaving behind all that is comfortable and familiar for the alien existences laid out by the witness protection program. Shifting between past and present, Woodson's (Miracle's Boys; If You Come Softly) introspective novel probes the complex reactions of 12-year-old Toswiah as she reluctantly reinvents herself as Evie Thomas. Telling lies about her past is as awkward for Toswiah as her adjustment to a new apartment, city and school, but most disturbing of all is the fragmentation of her formerly close-knit family. Toswiah's mother, searching for meaning and for support, becomes an avid Jehovah's Witness. Mr. Green slips into suicidal depression, and Toswiah's older sister, unbeknownst to their parents, arranges to enter college at 15. "Evie/Toswiah Thomas/Green," as the narrator once refers to herself, taps hidden stores of inner strength, ultimately realizing that "I am no longer who I was in Denver, but at least and at most I am." Readers facing their own identity crises will find familiar conflicts magnified and exponentially compounded here, yet instantly recognizable and optimistically addressed. Ages 10-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
When Toswiah Green's father, witness to a murder, does the right thing by testifying against two fellow police officers, he puts his entire family in danger. Now the Greens have fled for their lives, leaving behind all that is comfortable and familiar for the alien existences laid out by the witness protection program. Shifting between past and present, Woodson's (Miracle's Boys; If You Come Softly) introspective novel probes the complex reactions of 12-year-old Toswiah as she reluctantly reinvents herself as Evie Thomas. Telling lies about her past is as awkward for Toswiah as her adjustment to a new apartment, city and school, but most disturbing of all is the fragmentation of her formerly close-knit family. Toswiah's mother, searching for meaning and for support, becomes an avid Jehovah's Witness. Mr. Green slips into suicidal depression, and Toswiah's older sister, unbeknownst to their parents, arranges to enter college at 15. "Evie/Toswiah Thomas/Green," as the narrator once refers to herself, taps hidden stores of inner strength, ultimately realizing that "I am no longer who I was in Denver, but at least and at most I am." Readers facing their own identity crises will find familiar conflicts magnified and exponentially compounded here, yet instantly recognizable and optimistically addressed. Ages 10-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
KLIATT
The girls' mother has escaped into religious fanaticism; their father into depression. Why? The family's life was a happy one in Denver when the father, a police officer, decided to testify against a fellow officer in the shooting death of a young African American teenager. This decision changed everything because it was necessary for the family to completely close off their past lives and enter a witness protection program with new identities. Even though this situation only affects a miniscule number of teenagers, it is a dilemma that will capture most adolescents' imaginations. My God, what if tomorrow I had to start a completely new life in a new town with a new name—and I had to lie about everything and everyone in my past? The narrator is Toswiah, who is now known as Evie. She is a young teenager with an older sister now called Anna. Much of the book is taken up with the facts of their lives in Denver, and the events that happened that drove the girls' father to make the excruciating decision to betray the code police operate under, to always defend one another. Part of the reason is that Evie and her family are black, living for the most part assimilated in a white world. But when white officers kill a black boy, and Evie's father is a witness to this blatantly racist act (he doesn't believe the boy would have been shot so quickly if he were white), Evie's father feels he must end this kind of police corruption by convicting the guilty officers...even if this means the ruin of his own family. Woodson is one of the best novelists we have in the YA field. She brings poetry to her prose and always a deep understanding of emotional upheaval, especially felt by those in crisis. Herexploration of gender and racial issues in our society is done in such a way that her readers must reflect as they absorb Woodson's work, as they contemplate the characters and plot Woodson creates. Category: Hardcover Fiction. KLIATT Codes: J*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior high school students. 2001, Penguin, Putnam, 179p., Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Claire Rosser; KLIATT
VOYA
Toswiah is twelve when her family enters the witness protection program. Her police officer father breaks the "Blue Wall of Silence" and testifies against fellow officers accused in the death of an unarmed young African American. The threats of violence escalate until the family members go into hiding, leaving behind their cat, relatives, and their family identity and history. Toswiah's older sister, Cameron, begins to plan her escape, her father drifts slowly into mental illness, and her mother embraces the Jehovah's Witness religion, much to her children's dismay. Toswiah, on her own in a new school where she is not encouraged to make friends, turns to track to pound out some of her frustration and anguish. This understated, memorable novel tells of a family's response to crisis when facing the challenge of righting an injustice. Woodson's dreamlike writing mirrors Toswiah's almost trancelike state as she is pulled from one life and plunged into a new role—that of Evie, her assumed name for an assumed life. The spare, poetic prose underscores the loss felt by each family member. As healing begins, there is hope that Toswiah's family will reconnect and redefine its future. This complex novel is written in a deceptively simple style. There are parallels and symbolism to generate discussion, but the bottom line is that Woodson is a graceful storyteller, skilled at expressing emotions and encouraging thought in a few, well-chosen words. Hush is not a thriller like Lois Duncan's Don't Look Behind You (Delacorte, 1989/VOYA August 1989), based on a similar theme. Woodson's tale will intrigue readers searching for the meaning of family, justice, and sacrifice. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P M J(Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2002, Putnam's, 192p, $15.99. Ages 11 to 15. Reviewer: Judy Sasges SOURCE: VOYA, February 2002 (Vol. 24, No.6)
From The Critics
When thirteen-year-old Toswiah Green's father testifies against two police officers who murdered an innocent African-American teenager, her life is completely changed. Along with her family, Toswiah must seek refuge in the federal witness protection program. As a result, they must leave behind extended family, friends, and their own identities. As Toswiah struggles with accepting life as her new identity, she watches her father deteriorate mentally, her mother become absorbed in religion, and her sister plot to desert the family. Adolescent Toswiah, now Evie, copes as best as she can, taking up track and field in school, and trying to fathom who she is, and who she is becoming. By the end of the novel, Toswiah manages to move forward with her life as her newly formed identity, Evie Thomas, and leave her past behind her. Once again, Woodson, one of the best creators of characters in YA fiction, tackles difficult issues like racial profiling, police brutality and racism with sheer-eyed clarity and intensity. 2002, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 180 pp.,
— KaaVonia Hinton-Johnson
Children's Literature
Evie Thomas's life is empty. Everything is gone-her pleasant home in Denver, her friends, even her name. Since her policeman father broke "The Blue Wall of Silence" and testified against his fellow officers who may have committed a murder, Evie's family has had to relocate and assume new identities. And no one seems to be coping well with the new situation. Evie's sister, Anna, is angry and bitter. Their mother has taken refuge in God, joining in with the Jehovah's Witnesses. Their father sinks into a depression and sits staring out the window for the better part of each day. As for Evie, she just feels sad and empty inside. The atmosphere in the tiny apartment grows more suffocating with each passing chapter as conditions in the family's new life deteriorate. Evie struggles to get through each day in a world gone wrong. After her father breaks down completely, Evie finally finds a method of escape—in the form of a pair of running shoes. Coretta Scott King Award winner Jacqueline Woodson has assembled a realistically depressing cast of characters, and allows a glimmer of hope to creep in at the end.
—Christopher Moning
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-How do you know who you are when your past has been taken away? This complex coming-of-age story unfolds as Evie Thomas (nee Toswiah Green) tries to make sense of her life, to discover who she is now, while remembering her past happy existence. The younger daughter in a successful African-American family, the 12-year-old's life is ripped apart when her policeman father testifies against his comrades in a racially motivated shooting, placing his family in jeopardy. Now they are living in a strange city in the Witness Protection Program. They have new names, new identities, no friends, and no history. Evie's mother has taken refuge in the Seventh Day Adventist Church, her father sits in front of the window day after day, and her older sister is looking for a way to escape this less-than-ideal reality. Evie must come to terms with her new life and create a present and future for herself even though she no longer has a past. This multifaceted novel from the talented Woodson may be too introspective for some readers, but those sophisticated enough to manage the intricacies of the story will come away with images and characters who are impossible to forget.-Sharon Grover, Arlington County Department of Libraries, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
After Toswiah's father, a black policeman who loves and believes in the moral rightness of his profession, makes the excruciating decision to testify against two white cops who shot and killed an unarmed black boy, Toswiah and her family enter the witness-protection program. Toswiah Green, now Evie Thomas, watches helplessly as her once rock-solid family falls apart. Her father, previously a strong, competent man, spends his days sitting silently by the window, lost in tortured thoughts and smelling like old laundry, "right there but slipping away." Evie's mother, currently cut off from her adored profession of teaching children, has turned to God, becoming another kind of witness, this time for Jehovah. To cope, 13-year-old Evie and her older sister Cameron, now Anna, try not to think about the present but instead move into "the far, far future," a time when their lives will be settled and sane. Written as Toswiah/Evie's diary in a fluid almost impressionist style that keeps the reader at a distance, Woodson paints a portrait of people who have made the agonizing journey from being somebody to nobody. She's interested in exploring what makes the core "I am" of a person, who they are when everything-friends, community, profession, even their names-has been stripped from them. Intellectually engaging yet strangely unmoving, this unusual story about a cut-off child seeking to reconnect and belong will give youngsters plenty to think about. (Fiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142415511
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 1/7/2010
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 149,988
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.23 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Born on February 12th in Columbus, Ohio, Jacqueline Woodson grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and Brooklyn, New York and graduated from college with a B.A. in English. She now writes full-time and has recently received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. Her other awards include three Newbery Honors, two Coretta Scott King awards, two National Book Award finalists, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Although she spends most of her time writing, Woodson also enjoys reading the works of emerging writers and encouraging young people to write, spending time with her friends and her family, and sewing. Jacqueline Woodson currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 32 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(19)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2006

    FIVE STARS

    I loved this book Hush it is a book that teens can relate to without getting tired of reading it every chapter makes you want to read more and more I will keep in touch with her books because they all have a meaning to them that I can never forget.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2011

    GREAT!!!!!

    I had to read this in school and i was in a book group so I was only allowed to read a certain number of chapters at a time but i wanted to keep reading, I could not stop! Read it!
    By Ever

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2012

    Bebe

    It suspenceful book that you should read. It teaches you a different piont of view. That you never seen

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2010

    Hush

    Book title and author: Hush, Jacqueline Woodson
    Title of review: 8th Grade, Ritchie County Middle School; great book
    Number of stars (1 to 5):

    Introduction
    Jacqueline Woodson yet again shows of her brilliance in her book entitled Hush. Woodson creates a reality of the Green family's troubles and dilemmas.
    Description and summary of main points
    Toswiah Green has her whole world flipped upside down when her father chooses to testify against a fellow policeman. Toswiah and her family are forced to change their identity, but this is the least of her problems. The Greens were forced to keep quiet about everything going on in their lives.
    Evaluation
    I love how the book was such an unusual situation. The majority of the book was unexpected.
    Conclusion
    Woodson produces an amazing piece of work.
    Your final review
    This book was very touching. I definitely recommend this book, and this author.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Good for young reader

    this book is good for younger readers. I personally found it a bit dull when comapred to the other books I've read and felt it could use deeper characters. The main character is likable and you do feel sorry for her as she wacthed her family fall apart.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2006

    Great Book

    This was an outstanding book. I read it from the library. I could not even return it. I think that it is important for young people and has a great moral to it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2006

    Loved It!!

    Can you imagine having to change your whole life? Loose your best friend, your home and everything you love? Well that¿s what happened to Toswiah, a twelve-year-old girl who had the ¿typical¿ life of a teen. In this fictional story Toswiah and her family had to move because her father was a witness in a crime. This whole thing turned into a racial issue. Their lives started to be in danger because some people didn¿t want her father to tell the truth about the crime. The family had to move and change their identities, but this was just the beginning of their new life and they also changed their personalities and their actions because of the hard situation they went through. Toswiah¿s father spends most of his time looking out the window, her mom has found a new religion that she is so involved in, and her sister is making some sort of plan to get out of the house. Then there is Toswiah, feeling very lost, frustrated, and very lonely, who can¿t express her feelings to anybody. I have never read a book this intense, powerful and interesting. Jacqueline Woodson tells the life of a young girl in such a realistic way that you can actually feel the sadness and the pain that Toswiah went through. I recommend this book to anyone who has been through any situation that has made them change their life forever.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2006

    this was a great book.

    this book was.great in this book there was a situation with a teenager getting shot for no reason. in this book it was black family this black family also included a black cop{the father} the cop was affened. this cop was affended because he was black also and he felt that the teen was shot cause he was black.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2007

    this book was very touching to my heart

    this book was the best book in the whole world....not really but i enjoyed reading it..

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2006

    Not too bad, Not too good.

    I really liked the idea of it but I think it could be takin to the next level. I think Jacqueline Woodson could have put more into it about how it was after they were put into the Witness Protection Program and maybe what happened after the story. Like 10 years later or something.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2005

    Hush Review by Janaera J. Jenkins

    I thought Hush was pretty good. It was sad but it makes you think about all the stuff you take for granted and makes you wonder what you would be like if you were in this kind of situation. I am a very young author and I think it was terrificly written!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2005

    A Reviewer

    i thought the book was great. It made me think about alot of things and i would recommend it to people. It wasn't the best i've seen Jacqueline Woodson do but it was great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2004

    I was dissapointed

    I had to read it for my English class, and it was a black eyed Susan book, so I thought it would be pretty good, but after I read it I was disappointed. The beginning was good, but the rest of the book was pretty dry to me. I wouldn't recommend it, but some other people in my class thought it was an okay book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2004

    GREAT

    this was a really good book thats all i should have to say because it was good. i read it in 2 days. it makes u keep reading this depressing yet wonderful story!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2004

    Best Book Ever!!!

    If you want to read a good book, than this is the kind of book you need to read. This is the best book I have ever read, so I think you should read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2003

    OK book

    this book was ok, defeintly not one of her best. i didn't like it too much, i thought it was sad, but it had a pretty good ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2003

    wonderful

    i really enjoyed this book it kept me wnating to read more and more. I must admit the title really sount boring when my teacher said i had to read it. but i liked it a lot

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2002

    This was a great book

    This book was amazing! It was about a black girl that has to move away because her father witnessed a shooting. It was one of the best books I have ever read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2002

    A BOOK THAT IS AMAZING

    I LOVED THIS BOOK.IT TOUCHED MY HEART.YOU SHOULD READ IT. THE BOOK IS ABOUT A 12 YEAR OLD BLACK GIRL.HER DAD WITNESSED A SHOTTING OF A BLACK YUNG MAN.IF YOU WANT MORE INFO READ THE BOOK YOUR SELF. PS.I LOVE ERIC

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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