Currently on Raspberry’s reading list: Being Fishkill by Ruth Lehrer. It’s Raspberry’s first YA novel and a great one to introduce her to the world of Young Adult literature. Being Fishkill is the story of Fishkill Carmel, a 13-year-old girl whose mother names her after a highway sign. After thirteen years of poverty, neglect, and verbal abuse, Carmel decides to fight back. The first step: a new name. Carmel Fishkill becomes Fishkill Carmel—Fish: cold and scaly–Kill: don’t-mess-with-me dangerous. She deflects tormenters with a strong left hook and conceals her secrets from teachers and social workers. But Fishkill’s fierce defenses falter when she meets logical optimist Duck-Duck Farina and her mother Molly. The three form a tentative family, even as Fishkill struggles to understand her place in it. This fragile new beginning is threatened by the reappearance of Fishkill’s unstable mother — and by unfathomable tragedy.
It’s some heavy stuff and a big step for a cow who’s accustomed to picture books and stories of other anthropomorphized animals and objects, but Raspberry is reacting with a big thumbs-up. Following the lead of Being Fishkill‘s heroine, she also wants me to call her Sassypants Raspberry. Sounds like Ruth Lehrer has found a new fan!
And speaking of our author …
Ruth Lehrer is a writer and sign language interpreter living in western Massachusetts. She is the author of a poetry chapbook, TIGER LAUGHS WHEN YOU PUSH, available from Headmistress Press. BEING FISHKILL, Lehrer’s debut YA novel published in 2017 by Candlewick Press, was called “…the year’s most heartwarming, heartbreaking teen novel …” by Entertainment Weekly. She can be found at ruthlehrer.com
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