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Liars and Fools

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The wind howled through the rigging, and a sheet of airborne spray sliced toward me over the top of the dodger. I gasped as the icy water hit me, soaking me from head to foot before it swirled away down the cockpit drains.
"Mom!" I shouted. "Mom! Please help me!" My voice was hoarse and my teeth were chattering. "Mom! I need you!" The wind snatched my words away and drowned them in the tumble of waves and ...

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Liars and Fools

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Overview

The wind howled through the rigging, and a sheet of airborne spray sliced toward me over the top of the dodger. I gasped as the icy water hit me, soaking me from head to foot before it swirled away down the cockpit drains.
"Mom!" I shouted. "Mom! Please help me!" My voice was hoarse and my teeth were chattering. "Mom! I need you!" The wind snatched my words away and drowned them in the tumble of waves and spray.
I didn't want to die out here.

It's been a year since Fiona's mother died in a South Pacific sailing accident. Everyone tells Fiona it's time to move on, something she has vowed never to do. But then her father starts dating a professional psychic who claims she can predict the future and communicate with the dead. Fiona is sure she is a fraud, although she secretly longs for her abilities to be genuine. Confused, angry and hurt, Fiona embarks on a plan to expose the liars and fools in her life-with surprising results.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Letting go of the past is a difficult endeavor for seventh-grader Fiona, who dreams of sailing around the world, despite the fact that her mother was killed in a boating accident just over a year ago. Fiona feels closest to her mother when she is aboard their boat, Eliza J, so she is understandably distraught when her father decides to sell it. To make matters worse, her father has begun dating a psychic, who Fiona is convinced is a phony. Fiona's stubbornness tries her father's patience; leads to arguments with her best friend, Abby; and nearly costs Fiona her life when, on impulse, she makes her first solo trip on Eliza J. In this perceptive novel, Stevenson (Inferno) captures the intensity of Fiona's grief and her passion for the sea. The questions haunting the heroine—is there a way to communicate with the dead? Did her mother really write "her own ticket" for her death as some people claim?—are gracefully addressed in a way that will inspire readers to draw their own conclusions. Ages 9–12. (Oct.)
CM Magazine
"An expressive story about a young girl trying to come to terms with the world around her without her mother by her side…By its conclusion, Stevenson's novel brings about complex realizations of how both children and adults come to cope with the loss. Recommended."
Puget Sound Council for Reviewing Children's Media
"Fiona's voice is believable and her grief is powerfully and sensitively portrayed. Her anger, guilt and sadness are strongly emotional without being depressing and truly drive the plot. Other characters are well-developed with their own emotions, beliefs, and needs while Fiona's love of sailing and the setting of coastal British Columbia add to the atmosphere."
Booklist
"Fiona is a believable character trying to deal with her grief...Her relationship with her best (and only) friend, Abby, is realistic, and the banter between the two girls adds humor...This resonates as a story about Fiona finding her own strength in the wake of tragedy."
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"Stevenson has done a great job [of] showing the angst of a young girl lacking control in so many sections of her life…This book will appeal to younger students, especially those who can empathize with the journey Fiona is on."
Children's Literature - Denise Daley
Fiona's mother was always a free-spirit who dreamed of sailing away on exotic adventures. She died while in the process of making her dream a reality and Fiona is struggling with putting the pieces of her own life back together. The grieving process becomes even more complicated when Fiona's father sells her mom's sailboat and then begins a relationship with a woman who claims to be a physic. Fiona is certain that everyone wants to forget that her mother even existed and she worries that her dad's new girlfriend is trying to take her mother's place. Fiona becomes determined to prove that her dad's new girlfriend is a fraud. In the process, she becomes increasingly rude and disrespectful. Fortunately, she gets a lot of support from her friend Abby and her Aunt Joni. Even Fiona's dad displays love and patience as he struggles with his own feelings of guilt, anger, and grief. This gripping and well-written novel will appeal to many readers. Anyone who has had to cope with the loss of a loved one will identify with Fiona's reluctance to move forward, for fear of losing memories of the past. Reviewer: Denise Daley
VOYA - Ursula Adams
Following her most recent novel, A Thousand Shades of Blue (Orca Book Publishers, 2008/VOYA December 2008), Stevenson writes another novel in which the protagonist is a young girl and the story involves sailing. In Liars and Fools, thirteen-year-old Fiona is dealing with the death of her mother following a sailing accident. It has been a year since her mother's death, but Fiona has not been able to deal with it. Meanwhile, her father has begun dating a psychic named Kathy. Upset by this, Fiona is determined to expose Kathy as a fraud. Written in first person, the book allows readers to vividly empathize with Fiona as she sadly recounts the memories of her mother. All of the characters are richly developed, and although it is sad in parts, the story never gets overly melodramatic and the plot moves at a quick pace. Liars and Fools is an important coming-of-age story that delves into how teens deal with the grieving process. Stevenson takes strong issues like parental death and grief, and writes a believable fictional account. It will probably appeal to young girls who may have experienced the death of a parent or who like a good, solid dramatic story. Reviewer: Ursula Adams
School Library Journal
Gr 6–8—A year has passed since Fiona's mother died in a sailing accident, and the 13-year-old has not been able to fill the void left by her and their shared love of sailing. To add to her sadness, her father has forbidden her to sail and puts the family boat up for sale, and he starts dating Kathy, a professional psychic who believes that she can speak with the dead. Fiona enlists the help of her best friend, Abby, for a school project to investigate psychic phenomena. She believes that proving Kathy is a fraud will break up her father's relationship, although a small part of her longs to be able to communicate with her mother. Only by learning more about her parents and Kathy is she able to slowly accept the possibility of a hopeful future. This book has a well-rounded main character who speaks and acts like a teenage girl and a cast of believable secondary characters, and the sailing subplot provides additional interest.—Betsy Fraser, Calgary Public Library, Alberta, Canada
Kirkus Reviews

It's been a year since Fiona's risk-taker mother died in a boating accident, and everyone is moving on except her. The 13-year-old's best friend, Abby, never seems to be on her side anymore, and her agnostic father is not only selling her mother's beloved boat but has begun dating Kathy, a medium who claims to receive messages from the deceased. When Fiona and Abby choose to study psychic phenomena for their science project, the girls give themselves the perfect pretext to prove that Kathy is a liar and Fiona's father a fool for loving her. In this sensitive depiction of grief and acceptance, Fiona's solid voice captures a flux of emotions that arise from her mother's death and from being an early adolescent. She may also be a liar about her mother's true nature and a fool for trying to push her friends and family away. Stevenson adds further layers of interest by incorporating Fiona's British Columbia surroundings, the teen's own love of boating and a look at several belief systems. (Fiction. 10-13)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554692484
  • Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: HL620L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Robin Stevenson is the author of multiple books for children and teens. She spends most of her time writing, hanging out with her homeschooled son, and teaching creative writing to adults, teens and kids. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia, with her family. For more information, visit www.robinstevenson.com. Robin loves to hear from readers—and she always writes back.

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Read an Excerpt

The wind howled through the rigging, and a sheet of airborne spray sliced toward me over the top of the dodger. I gasped as the icy water hit me, soaking me from head to foot before it swirled away down the cockpit drains.

"Mom!" I shouted. "Mom! Please help me!" My voice was hoarse and my teeth were chattering. "Mom! I need you!" The wind snatched my words away and drowned them in the tumble of waves and spray.

I didn't want to die out here.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2013

    Love books

    This seems like a very heart felt book and i recommend hat anyone who likes these types of books read it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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