Stolen Words (American Girl Fiction Series)

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2001 Trade paperback New. No dust jacket as issued. Clean and tight-unused copy-Excellent! ! Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 145 p. American Girl (Paperback Unnumbered). ... Audience: Children/juvenile. Read more Show Less

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Koss's (The Girls) astute and affecting novel treats tragic themes with an invigoratingly tart tone. The narrator, 11-year-old Robyn Gittleman, is vacationing with her family in Vienna when their luggage is stolen. What bothers her most is the loss of her diary, a gift from her diary-keeping aunt, killed six months earlier in a traffic accident. Robyn's mother, who was with Aunt Beth in the car, remains so traumatized that she, like Aunt Beth, also seems absent. The entries in Robyn's replacement diary form the narrative: "Sometimes I want to yell at her, `Who died in that crash? You or Aunt Beth?' " she confides. The various types of mourning the heroine experiences intensify against the Austrian backdrop, with Koss deftly incorporating moments suggestive of that culture's distinctive black humor (e.g., a tour guide shows off a famous crypt, saying, "Anyone care for tinned meat? Within these jugs are the vital organs of members of the Hapsburg family"). The author also allows Robyn to consider, briefly, the Holocaust, which the girl's Austrian-Jewish great-grandparents, alone of their families, survived. The particularly insightful portrayals of Robyn's anger and internal conflicts find an almost ideal counterbalance in her mordant wit and candor painful though her grapplings are, her emotional recovery manifests itself so gradually and lightly as to surprise readers with the force of its optimism. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Robyn's family travels to Austria where their luggage is stolen, including her most prized possession, the diary Aunt Beth gave her for Hanukkah. Robyn is devastated. She buys another one but it doesn't feel the same. In fact, nothing feels the same since Aunt Beth died in a car accident. Her mother survived but is still in a deep depression. Written as a diary, Robyn expresses her feelings—her fear of heights, her love of the Austrian farm where they stay, her frustration with her younger brother, her sadness with the loss of her aunt, and her fear she has lost her mother as well. Robyn doesn't hold back and sometimes swears and capitalizes words for emphasis. She wants her mother back and is angry when she has to take care of her brother. Students can identify with the very-real emotions of a twelve-year-old and experiment with writing their own diary to express their feelings and deal with events in their lives. 2001, American Girl, $14.95 and $5.95. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Janet L. Rose
VOYA
"No one knows what you'll write on these pages.... But whatever it is will be yours forever." Robyn received a diary and those words from her favorite Aunt Beth last Hanukkah. Now eleven-year-old Robyn is on a trip to Vienna with her mom, dad, and brother, the first fun thing they have done since Aunt Beth was killed in a car accident. Robyn's mom is suffering from severe depression, and as much as Robyn wants her aunt back, she wants her mom back more. Early in their trip, the family's luggage is stolen, including Robyn's cherished diary, an unforgivable crime in her eyes. Her new diary chronicles their sightseeing, including spending time in a farmhouse in the Alps and at a glacier, and the struggles of her family members as they try to keep everything together with little participation from their mother. Robyn is a true eleven-year-old girl, loving the small things she discovers in a foreign country, but also maturing as she deals with grief and her many fears. She is observant of human nature, funny, and endearing. Although her travel experiences are similar to those in The Diary of Melanie Martin (Knopf, 2000) by Carol Weston, the evolution of Robyn and her family in their grief provide more depth. Middle school girls who like diaries and travel will especially enjoy this work, whereas others might relate to the loss of a loved one. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2001, American Girl/Pleasant Company, 145p, $5.95 Trade pb. Ages 11 to 14. Reviewer: Julie Wilde SOURCE: VOYA, February 2002 (Vol. 24, No.6)
Kirkus Reviews
Five months after a tragic car accident kills an 11-year-old girl's favorite aunt, she and her family travel to Austria to get away from their grief. "I miss Aunt Beth with all my heart, but I miss my mom even more," Robyn confides to her new diary. Her old one, a present from Beth, her mother's sister, was stolen along with the rest of the family's luggage from a parked car in Vienna. But what was really stolen from Robyn is not her suitcase or even the words in her diary, but her happy interaction with her family, especially her mother. Since the loss of Aunt Beth, Robyn's mother, once a lively woman with a bold "crazy-bird laugh," has sunk into a distracted depression. Told with sensitivity and wit in a perfectly pitched preadolescent voice, Robyn's diary chronicles her mother's incremental up-and-down progress and her own increasing frustration and attendant guilt. "Maybe I'm a rotten niece . . . but I feel like shouting, ‘C'mon, Mom, get over it already!' " she confides to her diary. And just when the reader feels like shouting along with her, a minor accident in an ice cave, a popular tourist attraction, causes Robyn's mother to snap out of her lethargy, helping a group of frightened, mostly elderly Japanese visitors climb to safety. Even though the subject is sad, the overriding message of the book-despite crushing loss life does continue-is a hopeful one and Koss leavens the mood with her protagonist's amusing and astute observations. (Fiction. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781584853763
  • Publisher: American Girl Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/1/1901
  • Series: American Girl Fiction Series
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 156
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.01 (w) x 8.24 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Amy Koss

AMY GOLDMAN KOSS is the author of several acclaimed teen novels, including The Girls, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and Poison Ivy (available from Square Fish). She lives in Glendale, CA, with her family, and she’s on the web at www.amygoldmankoss.net.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2004

    Fantastic Book!

    Robyn and he her family are struggling through the death of Aunt Beth.So, throught the hole story, everything sort of revolves around Aunt Beth. After the family's luggage was stolen, Robyn was devistated because the diary that Aunt Beth had given her for Hannakuah as included in the luggage that the thief took. From the Irish people painting dead people's skulls to the indoor sing, everything in the book was very ell written and I ould recommend it to anybody! You should definitely read it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2003

    BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    STOLEN WORDS IS A REAL TEAR-JERKER.I WOULD EVEN RECOMEND THIS BOOK TO A GUY!I REALLY THINK YOU'LL LIKE THIS BOOK.SO READ,BUY IT,CHECK IT OUT!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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