Lehrer, Ruth. Being Fishkill.
5Q * 4P * J * S (a)
Lehrer, Ruth. Being Fishkill. Candlewick, November 2017. 320p. $17.99. 978-0-76368442-6.
Born in the back seat of a car, Carmel Fishkill was named for a freeway exit sign. As Carmel, she was bullied and called Caramel. At the beginning of seventh grade in a new school, it is time for a change. She becomes the tough Fishkill Carmel. Not able to afford lunch, she steals from kids who can, and she lets her fists do the talking when necessary. Fishkill lives alone in a run-down property outside of town. Her abusive grandfather died of a heart attack, and Fishkill watched her unstable mother fall in the river, never to surface. When she tries to steal food from a small girl named Duck-Duck, her whole life changes. Fishkill glimpses what life is like for those who do not struggle to survive, and soon she is a regular fixture at Duck-Duck's house, especially when Duck-Duck's mother realizes Fishkill lives alone. Now her mother is back from the dead, however, and she wants Fishkill to live with her.
Fishkill and Duck-Duck are intricate characters whose unlikely friendship feeds every page. Both girls are authentic, and their relationships with the world are described in realistic, unvarnished terms. Fishkill's life is harsh, but she is resilient. Duck-Duck is an optimist and speaks like a lawyer. Physical and sexual abuses are alluded to from the perspective of a twelve-year-old. The tragic and violent death of one of the main characters forces the one still alive to cope with grief and figure a way to move on. Exploring themes of rebuilding one's identity similar to those in Clara Kensie's Aftermath (Simon Pulse, 2016/VOYA December 2016), Fishkill and Duck-Duck will continue to haunt the reader long after the end of this emotionally intense book.--Etienne Vallee.
A book about an unlikely, heartwarming friendship, Being Fishkill shows that people can find themselves even in tragedy. It is exciting, filled with mischief and hope. The characters are well fleshed out and realistic. This book about love, adventure, and danger will keep readers turning the pages until they are breathless. This title should be in libraries everywhere. 4Q, 5P.--Kobi Dostie, Teen Reviewer.