These reviews have been copied from the New York Public Library’s Website – http://www.nypl.org
School Library Journal
SLJ Reviews 2002 February
Gr 7 Up-Abandoned by her teenaged mother and raised in Kentucky by her religious grandmother, 16-year-old Heavenly Faith (H.F. to all but Memaw) knows she is different. She has a crush on Wendy, a local college professor’s daughter, and the only person she can tell is her best friend Bo, a “girlish boy” who is beaten regularly by the local jocks. When H.F. finally musters the courage to speak to Wendy, they quickly become friends, and soon the relationship intensifies with disastrous results. Still hurting from this first love experience, H.F. discovers that Memaw has been secretly communicating with her long-lost daughter. Feeling doubly betrayed, H.F. and Bo head out to track her down in Florida. Along the way they share some big-city experiences, including an overnight encounter with some homeless gay teens who have their own concept of family. When H.F. finally finds her mother, she quickly realizes that “Momma” still has no interest in having a daughter. Curiosity satisfied, the two friends head home only to discover that H.F.’s mother or boyfriend has stolen their money. The story wraps up too neatly when H.F. calls Wendy to wire them some money, Wendy asks for another chance, they return home, and life goes on with college in their future. It’s a quick and mostly satisfying read, but for a better story about gay teens in a rural setting, try M. E. Kerr’s Deliver Us from Evie (HarperCollins, 1995).-Betty S. Evans, Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Voice of Youth Advocates Reviews
VOYA Reviews 2002 February
Sixteen-year-old Heavenly Faith (H. F.) Simms dreams of a mother she has never known and of life beyond her small Kentucky town. When she and her best friend, Bo, hit the road to find the missing piece of her family, they discover instead three homeless teens and members of Atlanta’s gay community, who give them unconditional acceptance. This coming-of-age novel set in the rural South features a strong female protagonist. Her initials and attitude toward life are reminiscent of Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. Like Huck who “don’t take no stock in dead people,” H. F. says, “If I can’t see it, hear it, smell it, touch it or taste it, I don’t believe it.” Although her search for “a place where people tell me the truth and love me just the way I am” is a basic element of many young adult novels, her strong sense of self and her refusal to conform to gain acceptance make her unique. Watts blends traditional and contemporary elements to create a novel with broad appeal. Southern stereotypes, such as Bo’s good-old-boy father, abound. In contrast, Preacher Dave, the Good Samaritan who offers refuge and shelter for street kids, provides the reader with a modern view of family. Although the relationship between H. F. and her gay friend, Bo, is nontraditional, H. F. and new student, Wendy, are involved in a typical high school crush with all the accompanying emotional highs and lows. This novel with its positive outlook is a good choice for recreational reading.-Christine Sanderson. 4Q 4P S Copyright 2002 Voya Reviews