The Smell of Paint

Overview


Moonbeam Children's Book Awards, 2007 Gold Medal winner - Young Adult Fiction Category

2007 Butler Prize for Books nominee

Coping with loss and the meaning of friendship

Jess is a natural born runner, and when she's chosen for the city track team, she is thrilled. True to form, however, her artist mom doesn_t share her excitement. She doesn't even understand her interest in track and field! Instead, she signs...

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Overview


Moonbeam Children's Book Awards, 2007 Gold Medal winner - Young Adult Fiction Category

2007 Butler Prize for Books nominee

Coping with loss and the meaning of friendship

Jess is a natural born runner, and when she's chosen for the city track team, she is thrilled. True to form, however, her artist mom doesn_t share her excitement. She doesn't even understand her interest in track and field! Instead, she signs Jess up for a painting course. Jess loves her mom, but why must they always butt heads? Determined to be independent, all of their conflicts seem to blow up in her face when her mother suddenly becomes ill.

Overcome by anger, and then denial, Jess attempts to do it alone, refusing to accept help or sympathy from even her closest friends.

If she keeps on running like this, maybe Jess can avoid feeling anything at all.

Sheryl McFarlane perfectly captures the humor, anger and sadness of a family dealing with grief in this sensitive portrayal of a teenage girl coping with loss and learning about the value of true friendship.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Cindy L. Carolan
Jess loves to run more than just about anything else in this world. Her two best friends, Jen, the dieting, fashion-obsessed one, and Jill, the ultra low-key one (the "Jays"), don't quite get this aspect of her life, but support her nonetheless. Neither does her mother, Rita, who, as an artist herself, wishes Jess would exhibit a bit more artistic interest. One person who does understand Jess' love of running is Brendon, who is on the elite track team Jess has been invited to join, and who, as the book unfolds, becomes Jess's boyfriend. About a third of the way into the book, the fact that Rita has cancer is divulged, which sends Jess running every which way she can. The book deals with the issues of general teenage angst, specific medical issues, and denial in honest and real terms, treating each one with raw emotion and understandable action/reactions, and underscoring the value of friendship throughout. This award-winning author has written numerous books for children and lives with her family in Victoria, British Columbia. Would be an excellent book for pre-teens or teens, particularly girls, dealing with terminal illness in their families. Highly recommended.
School Library Journal

Gr 7-9
Jess's artistic mother can't understand why running holds such an attraction for her daughter. The girl is balancing her family, practice, school, first love interest, and friends pretty well until her mother gets sick. All she and her older sister are told is that she has cancer. Her dad becomes so wrapped up in his wife that his daughters are either shuffled off to friends' homes or left to fend for themselves. Jess is trying to keep up an appearance of normalcy so she doesn't tell anyone about her mother, and her friends can't understand why she is avoiding them. It isn't until the very end of the book that the family finally talks about what is really going on and what the future holds for all of them. McFarlane does a commendable job of incorporating Jess's emotions. Unfortunately, there are too many plot threads that vie for prominence, and each one is given equal attention. The writing style is uneven, and the characters, except for Jess, are never fully developed, leaving readers with little empathy for them. Finally, the ending is too abrupt; everything is wrapped up in the last two pages.
—Nancy P. ReederCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781550414578
  • Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Limited
  • Publication date: 8/28/2006
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 1,497,352
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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