Up a Creek

Overview

A thoughtful coming-of-age novel about a young woman struggling to connect with her eccentric mother.

"I picked up my poster, raising it so everyone could see that if they chopped down these old oak trees, they'd be killing the South as well. I held it high like I meant it, and I walked around Oak Square forty-six more times that day, till all that was left of the sun was a buttery smear in the sky."

Miracle Bott's activism is a constant ...

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Overview

A thoughtful coming-of-age novel about a young woman struggling to connect with her eccentric mother.

"I picked up my poster, raising it so everyone could see that if they chopped down these old oak trees, they'd be killing the South as well. I held it high like I meant it, and I walked around Oak Square forty-six more times that day, till all that was left of the sun was a buttery smear in the sky."

Miracle Bott's activism is a constant embarrassment to her thirteen year old daughter, Starshine. Why does Miracle spend all her time fighting causes? And how can Starshine's grandmother remain so supportive? After all, the 60's were a long time ago.

First Miracle tries to save the whales, then the ozone layer, and now it's the old oak trees in the town square. But when Miracle decides to protect one of the oaks by living in it, she may have gone too far—too far for the mayor, the community, and especially her daughter. Now Starshine must find a way to make Miracle come down from the tree before their relationship becomes a lost cause.

In her warm, evocative style, Laura Williams explores the relationships between three generations of women struggling to find connections.

Thirteen-year-old Starshine Bott learns how to cope with an unconventional, politically active mother and does a lot of growing up in the process.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Williams's (Torch Fishing with the Sun) novel, set in contemporary small-town Louisiana, stars 13-year-old Starshine Bott and her 1960s-holdover mother, Miracle. As pivotal events take place in Starshine's home (she menstruates for the first time; her grandmother, Memaw, is hospitalized for heatstroke; the heroine inquires about her father's identity), Miracle refuses to come down from an oak tree in which she has taken up residence to protest the town council's plans to cut the old trees down. The author takes on momentous issues with mixed results. Some of the plot development may stretch readers' credibility; several of the supporting characters are not fully fleshed out--including Miracle--so their exchanges with Starshine lack weight. Likable, feisty Memaw supports Miracle's actions as part of the family's legacy of stubborn resiliency--but the oft-mentioned tradition is never explicated. However, Starshine's narrative rings true: "I often had the feeling my mama forgot she had a daughter named Starshine, of all things, in middle school. And no one knew better how to make fun of somebody who had a weird name and a weirder mother than a kid in middle school." Ultimately, when Miracle's fall from the tree threatens her campaign, Starshine takes up the cause in an ending that may well prompt budding environmentalists to cheer first and fill in the gaps later. Ages 10-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
VOYA
Starshine Bott is suffering from terminal embarrassment. She not only has to contend with her unconventional name, but she also must deal with her unconventional mother, Miracle. Starshine's indulgent grandmother observes that her daughter should have been alive in the sixties, when her tie-dyed clothes and social causes would have fit right in. When Miracle decides to save the threatened oak trees in the town square by taking up residence in one of them, Starshine finds herself left alone to cope with television crews, her first period, her grandmother's hospitalization, and suddenly urgent questions about her anonymous father. Shouldn't Miracle's own daughter be the most important cause? This is a pleasant enough story, an easy and undemanding read—the junior equivalent of a beach book. Many issues are raised, but none seems terribly urgent. Starshine never doubts or appears angry with her mother or grandmother in any significant way—with the exception of an all-out assault on Miracle' s prized roses—in spite of her family's rather sanguine approach to her needs. It is a laid-back view of thirteen-year-old angst. This book will make an adequate eyeshade while readers work on their tans, but recommend Rachel Vail's work for more incisive and still nonthreatening portrayals of the complexities of middle school life. 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). 2001, Henry Holt, 135p, Ages 12 to 15. Reviewer: Kathleen Beck SOURCE: VOYA, April 2001 (Vol. 24, No.1)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-With the Hardy Boys as heroes and stars in his eyes, Tom Austen has a nose for adventure. He is investigating full throttle in Murder on the Canadian and mysterious dirty dealings keep him up nights in Vancouver Nightmare. Wilson clearly had curious readers with little time to spare in mind when he wrote these awesome escapades. The writing is punchy and leaves youngsters wanting more. They will be quickly drawn into the stories and will stick with them until the conclusions when the author and his alter ego, Austen, tie up all the loose ends and see justice served. Short and sharp, these books are great for reluctant upper elementary and young adult readers.-Lisa Denton, J. S. Russell JHS, Lawrenceville, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786237289
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 12/1/2001
  • Edition description: LARGEPRINT
  • Pages: 121
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.74 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Williams comes from a family of strong women, like Starshine. She is the author of several acclaimed novels including The Ghost Stallion and Behind the Bedroom Wall, for which she received a Jane Addams Peace Award Honor. When she's not writing, Ms. Williams spends her time painting, drawing, and creating stained-glass. She lives in Avon, Ohio with her husband and two children.

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