No Place For Kids by Alison Lohan
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Paperback 135 pages
Published 2014 by Heritage House
Sisters Jennifer and Sarah were once part of a happy, stable family, but their idyllic life comes to an abrupt halt with the death of their mother. Unable to cope with his grief and the needs of his two young daughters, their father finds comfort in alcohol, gets fired from his job, and loses his grip on his family.As twelve-year-old Jennifer approaches maturity, she starts to develop a tough exterior, especially when she attracts unwelcome attention from one of her father’s friends. With nothing left to lose, the two sisters decide run away to their mother’s sister in Vancouver, setting out with very little money and no clear plan. Along the way, they must overcome fear, loneliness, illness, and the conflict inherent in their sibling relationship. This emotional story deals with mature themes, but is ultimately about the enduring bonds of family. Suitable for readers aged nine to eleven.
I am not much of a fan of middle grade books as I'm much older than that. However, this book grabbed my attention from the first few pages. I felt drawn into the story of Jennifer and Sarah. They are children but are forced to grow up way too fast. They are children but are forced to fend for themselves. They are children but are forced to run in order to feed themselves.
This story is heartbreaking at times but something we should all take the time to read. It is a lesson of how people, especially children survive in this world when it seems that no one is there for them. It is intense at times but the story also shows hope, survival and the growth of these two little girls. They only have each other but sometimes that's enough.
Jennifer is twelve years old and has hardened on the outside since her mother passed away and her father is so out of it most days that he doesn't even take his kids to school. Jennifer feels angry and responsible for her younger sister Sarah because as the oldest, she must take on the responsibility of feeding both of them. Her father certainly won't do it and the friends that their father lives with are just creepy. Jennifer has a big weight on her shoulder but somehow she keeps pushing on.
Sarah is the little sister and feels like all Jennifer wants is the push her around. She is scared and confused but still, she listens to whatever her sister wants because she feels like Jen wouldn't lead her wrong.
From the aches in their bellies, to the sleepless nights, this book is inspiring, eye opening and such an important read.
About the author:
Bio: Award-winning Canadian Alison Lohans has published 26 books with presses in Canada and New Zealand. Many of her books have been finalists for awards such as the CLA Young Adult Book Award, three different categories of the Saskatchewan Book Awards, the High Plains Book Awards, and the Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award. This Land We Call Home (Pearson Education New Zealand) won the 2008 Saskatchewan Book Award for YA Literature. Her latest novels for readers of various ages include the newly re-released No Place for Kids(Heritage House, Wandering Fox Imprint, 2014); Leaving Mr. Humphries (Your Nickel's Worth, 2013); Crossings (Bundoran Press, 2012); Picturing Alyssa (Dundurn, 2011); and Dog Alert(Pearson New Zealand, 2011).Alison was first published at age 12. Realizing from an early age that it must be difficult to make a living as a writer, she decided to follow her second passion--music--as well, and taught instrumental music for a few years before "retiring" to start a family and concentrate more on her writing. Alison's first book was published in 1983, and since that time she has given more than a thousand author talks in schools and libraries across Canada. She has taught writing and has mentored many other writers; in 2002-2003 she served as Writer-in-Residence for Regina Public Library. She was thrilled to serve in this role, and to be able to give back to the community, after she benefitted enormously when Canadian writer Janet Lunn served as Writer-in-Residence 20 years earlier. Many of Alison's former students have gone on to publish their own books, and have sometimes won awards. Alison was awarded the 2012 YWCA Jacqui Schumiatcher Woman of Distinction for her contributions to the arts, and her name has been placed on a City of Regina list for potential names for new streets. Alison Lohan lives in Regina, Saskatchewan.
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