4.3 181
by Jodi Lynn Anderson

View All Available Formats & Editions

Three Georgia peaches are in for one juicy summer . . .

. . . but Birdie would rather eat Thin Mints and sulk in the A/C.

Leeda would prefer to sneak off with her boyfriend, Rex.

And Murphy would much rather cause a little mischief.

Together these three very different girls will discover the secret to finding the right boy, making the

See more details below

  • Checkmark Great eBook Prices for Kids & Teens  Shop Now


Three Georgia peaches are in for one juicy summer . . .

. . . but Birdie would rather eat Thin Mints and sulk in the A/C.

Leeda would prefer to sneak off with her boyfriend, Rex.

And Murphy would much rather cause a little mischief.

Together these three very different girls will discover the secret to finding the right boy, making the truest of friends, and picking the perfect Georgia peach.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"In a novel about broken hearts, broken spirits and the healing power of friendship, Anderson profiles three one-of-a-kind Georgia `peaches,' a trio of teenage girls who converge at Darlington Orchard during picking season," wrote PW in a starred review. Ages 14-up. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This is a story that unfolds at the pace of a summer day down south. Murphy McGowen is the 15-year-old whose antics at the Darlington Peach Orchard open the story and lead to a sentence of service. She is required to work in the orchard for two weeks in the spring. Birdie Darlington helps her dad oversee operations, and Leeda Cawley-Smith is the cousin who comes to stay for spring break. It is not until summer that the unlikely, yet predictable, friendship of these three takes off. That is plenty of time for the reader to accumulate the backstory on each: Murphy, daughter of the town's "loose woman"; Birdie, the overweight and shy daughter of divorce, struggling to get her dad's attention; the rich, neglected Leeda, living in the shadow of her adored older sister. A few romantic subplots are worked into the girls' summer. There is Rex, the orchard employee who's Leeda's boyfriend, and Enrico, the migrant worker and object of Birdie's desire. With only two men, a love triangle develops that puts a strain on the friendship of the girls. That, along with a impromptu group road trip, are late events in the novel which attempt to gear up the action, but they feel a bit contrived. There is a lot going on in and around the peach orchard, but the plot may not hold readers' attention unless they get specifically interested in the three characters who share the spotlight. 2005, HarperCollins, and Ages 13 to 16.
—Mary Loftus
Aside from producing delicious fruit, Georgia's Darlington Peach Orchard provides sanctuary and changes its occupants' lives. Birdie's family owns Darlington, but after her self-centered mother tires of peaches and suddenly leaves, the shy, home-schooled girl must assume her mother's business responsibilities and discovers mounting bills. Murphy, brazen and constantly in minor legal skirmishes from boredom and disgust with her mother's revolving boyfriends, is caught stealing and sent to Darlington to work. Birdie's cousin Leeda is rich and beautiful, but demeaned by her mother who favors her older, engaged sister. Unwilling to spend the summer wedding planning, she too goes to Darlington. The trio initially dislikes each other, but through working in the beautiful orchard, saving it from bad weather and bankruptcy, and wrestling with relationships, their true personalities and commonalities emerge, creating their close friendship. The lush, intricate, and sensual descriptions of Darlington's grounds and peaches provide lyrical scenes that are standouts, although some are over-long or repetitive, adding to the novel's length and inviting skimming. The characters are familiar: Shy Birdie reveals inner reserves, wild-child Murphy displays intelligence and caring, and vapid Leeda is introspective and industrious. All possess greater maturity than their mothers and frequently seem older than fifteen or sixteen. The languorous pacing suddenly switches to swift, happy resolutions relying on unlikely contrivances, notably Darlington's saving of surrounding orchards after storm damage, skyrocketing the demand for peaches. Overall the book will be more appealing to those enjoying its descriptivewriting and unusual setting than its familiar characters and plot. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M J (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2005, HarperCollins, 320p., and PLB Ages 11 to 15.
—Lisa A. Hazlett
KLIATT - Stephanie Squicciarini
The struggling Darlington Georgia Peach Orchard is the setting for this summer story of friendship and self-discovery. Three very different girls find themselves working at the orchard, each facing struggles of her own. Birdie, the somewhat shy and fairly sheltered daughter of the orchard's owner, has taken over the duties that her mother left behind when she walked out on Birdie's father. Leeda, Birdie's privileged and beautiful cousin, is trying to step out from behind her sister's shadow. Murphy, outspoken and free-spirited (and mischief-seeking), has been sentenced to a summer of community service on the orchard. Three unlikely friends with seemingly nothing in common find support and acceptance while stubbornly resisting it. Beautifully and richly descriptive and surprisingly strong in its sparse dialogue, Anderson's debut novel is sure to appeal to fans of such stories as the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. Clever and brief anecdotes featuring secondary characters are scattered throughout and add depth to the story without weighing it down. Readers will enjoy getting to know Birdie, Leeda, and Murphy and will look forward to seeing them again in the sequel due in March 2007.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-During a summer at the Darlington Peach Orchard in Georgia, Murphy, Leeda, and Birdie discover the true meaning of friendship despite their differences. Murphy, a bright, sarcastic 16-year-old from the wrong side of town, is completing community service at the orchard. Wealthy Leeda lives in her perfect older sister's shadow. She decides to work at her uncle's orchard on a whim and then is too proud to change her mind. Birdie Darlington is trying to keep the farm running despite the fact that her mother has left and her father refuses to face the desperate straits that the business is in. As the summer progresses, the girls bond and realize that you cannot judge someone by her financial or family situation. The characters are realistic and the dialogue is fresh. Readers looking for light reading will not be disappointed.-Angela M. Boccuzzi-Reichert, Merton Williams' Middle School, Hilton, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Read More

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Peaches , #1
Sold by:
Sales rank:
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


By Jodi Lynn Anderson HarperCollins Copyright © 2006 Jodi Lynn Anderson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-06-073305-6

Chapter One Every spring since she had turned thirteen had started the same way for Murphy McGowen. She started feeling restless at the very same time as the crocuses began busting out of their buds every year. She'd start to want to bust out of her skin too, into a skin that lived, say, in New York, or Paris, or Buenos Aires, anyplace that wasn't Bridgewater, Georgia. Outside the historic downtown district - which was basically unlived in and which barely any tourists came to - the town was mostly a strip of motels, fast-food joints, and traffic lights.

From then on, each spring had started with

A. The restlessness

B. The ache in her chest for the thing she didn't know was missing

C. The guy with the hand up her shirt

At fifteen, there was also the addition of the other hand, down the pants - usually cords, sometimes army surplus, all three dollars or less at Village Thrift. The boys she hadn't bargained for; they had just sort of come. Because like many girls in Georgia, Murphy was as girl as a girl could be. Green eyed and smooth skinned with beauty marks here and there on her cheeks, with brown wavy hair and high apple breasts. Like most young girls at the Piggly Wiggly on any given day, she was more juicy than fine, more sexy than delicately beautiful. In a word, Murphy McGowen was yummy. A few more words that had been used to describe her were brilliant, bold, and rotten.

Her favorite spot for C. was the edge of the Darlington Peach Orchard, just two miles out of the center of town, but what felt like a million miles from anything resembling the Piggly Wiggly. Most of Bridgewater felt like a collision of old southern big-porched homes and a giant strip mall. The orchard, with its endless acreage and overgrown greenery, felt like the Garden of Eden.

Murphy, who wasn't much into nature, didn't know why she liked it. In lots of ways it was a mess. The white fence that ran along the property line was chipped and rotting. An old tractor had been abandoned by the train tracks and was grown over with weeds. The farm itself was obscured by layers of overgrowth along this edge so thick that even now, when there were no leaves, Murphy could see only tiny glimpses of the peach trees themselves and the white farmhouse through the brush.

The cold metal of the tracks dug into her butt as she took a sip of warm Mello Yello. She kicked off her sticky old Dr. Scholl's sandals from Village Thrift, letting her bare soles bask in the warmest night they'd had since the fall. Across the grass behind them, Gavin's car was choking out staticky Coldplay, a band Gavin said was brilliant, though Murphy claimed all their songs sounded exactly the same.

Murphy watched lazily as Gavin, whose last name she didn't remember, ran his fingers lightly up and down the back of her calves like they were made of gold. His eyes trailed up and down her legs.

"What do you wanna do?" she asked, pushing her toes into the grass. She mentally urged Gavin to say something original. Impress me, she thought. Already she was wishing she'd come alone. Gavin was oblivious to their surroundings, which was depressing.

The truth was, there was nothing she wanted to do. She wanted to float out of her body, out of Bridgewater, up to the moon. Coming to the orchard always made her restless. Energized with nowhere to put it. Stuffed up.

When her mom had used to take her here on picnics, before the onslaught of boyfriends paraded into their lives, Jodee had said, "It makes me feel young, baby." And maybe that was it. Sneaking onto the orchard grounds made Murphy feel the way she figured a girl her age was supposed to feel - awake. Though Gavin was making a valiant effort at bringing that down a notch.

He squeezed her calf and then moved onto his knees like he was praying to her, putting his hands on her tight coil of a waist. Murphy held her can of soda aside to accept the touch of his lips. He was ridiculously cute, she had to admit. But a lot of guys were. Somewhere along the line that had stopped being exciting. While he moved his mouth to the soft skin on the side of her neck, she watched the moon above them, which was three-quarters full and surrounded by a white haze. It made her think about how she couldn't believe how big the universe was, but how small it was for her. Maybe she'd be sitting in Bridgewater when she was eighty, making out with somebody with just gums.

"I'm bored." It came out matter-of-factly. She extracted herself from him.

Gavin pulled back and frowned at her from under his eyebrows, hurt. "Thanks." He ran a hand through his messy brown hair and then scratched at his stomach through his thin White Stripes T-shirt. He pulled a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and held one to his lips, lighting it. He looked irritated.

Murphy wasn't surprised. It was typical. Boys came in one flavor. The flavor that couldn't stand it when you didn't let them play with your toys.

"Anyway, your tongue's all slimy," she said, bouncing up onto her feet. "Don't you swallow, ever?" "You're rough, Murph."

"Murphy. I hate it when people try to give me nicknames."

"Right, Murphy. Well, nobody else I've dated has complained."

"We're not dating," she said evenly.

Gavin shook his head at her the way boys sometimes did, like he'd touched a hot plate and had to put it down. "Well, if you're bored, what do you want to do?" His eyes squinted as he took a puff of his cigarette.


Excerpted from Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson Copyright © 2006 by Jodi Lynn Anderson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More

What People are saying about this

Ann Brashares
Funny, free, and utterly imaginative, Jodi Lynn Anderson’s writing is packed with loveliness. Peaches is a sweet and delicious read.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >