Synopses & Reviews
Though he thinks of himself as a cowboy, Tommy is really a bully. He's always playing cruel jokes on classmates or stealing from the store. But Tommy has a reason: life at home is tough. His abusive mother isn't well; in fact, she may be mentally ill, and his sister, Mary Lou, is in the hospital badly burned from doing a chore it was really Tommy's turn to do. To make amends, Tommy takes over Mary Lou's paper route. But the paper route also becomes the perfect way for Tommy to investigate his neighbors after stumbling across a copy of The Daily Worker
, a communist newspaper.
Tommy is shocked to learn that one of his neighbors could be a communist, and soon fear of a communist in this tight-knit community takes hold of everyone when Tommy uses the paper to frame a storeowner, Mr. McKenzie. As Mr. McKenzie's business slowly falls apart and Mary Lou doesn't seem to get any better, Tommy's mother's abuse gets worse causing Tommy's bullying to spiral out of control.
Poignantly written, Kristin Levine proves herself a master of gripping and affecting historical fiction.
"Tension builds just below the surface of this energetic, seamlessly narrated first novel set in small-town Alabama in 1917. Twelve-year-old Harry, aka Dit, has been looking forward to the arrival of the new postmaster from Boston, said to have a son Dit's age. The 'son' turns out to be a girl, Emma, and to everyone's surprise, the family is what Dit calls 'colored' and others call 'Negras.' Emma, bookish and proud, impresses Dit with her determination (he calls it stubbornness) when she decides to learn to throw a ball or climb, and when Emma's mother upbraids him, Dit begins to rethink what he's been taught about the South's sorrowful defeat in the War Between the States. Levine sets up a climactic tragedy that will challenge the community's sense of justice; although hair-raising Mockingbird esque events are becoming common in YA novels about inequality in the segregated South, Levine handles the setting with grace and nuance. Without compromising the virtues and vices of her characters, she lets her readers have a happy-enough ending. Ages 10 up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
-A fine debut novel by an author to watch.+ -Kirkus Reviews
Praise for THE PAPER COWBOY:
“A winningly authentic, realistic and heartwarming family drama.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Praise for THE PAPER COWBOY:
* “A winningly authentic, realistic and heartwarming family drama.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* “A thoughtful story about understanding and compassion, distinguished by complex characters and a supportive, tight-knit community.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
* “A sophisticated, powerful story about a communitys ability to help one another out, and the paper cowboy who helps bring them together.”—Booklist, starred review
* “Tommy's struggle to bring his family together ends up bringing the whole community together. His journey is filled with many lessons for young readers and many historically accurate portrayals of life at that time... the lessons--acceptance of others, coming together to help others, forgiveness, and coping with mental illness--are well worth teaching.”—Examiner.com
* “Levine deftly captures a time period filled with an overarching paranoia and small-town life filled with tensions on many levels.”—School Library Journal
Praise for THE LIONS OF LITTLE ROCK:
“Creating a book that reads as though written in one effortless breath requires a rare talent… Readers will root for a painfully shy girl to discover the depths of her own courage and find hope in the notion that even in tumultuous times, standing up for the people you love cant be wrong. Satisfying, gratifying, touching, weighty—this authentic piece of work has got soul.” —The New York Times Book Review
“[A] stunning piece of historical fiction.”—School Library Journal, starred review
“[A] riveting, frequently tense portrait of 1958 Little Rock.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“[A] quietly powerful page-turner.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Praise for THE BEST BAD LUCK I EVER HAD:
“[An] energetic, seamlessly narrated first novel… Levine handles the setting with grace and nuance.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“This classic story of how unlikely persons can change things for the better should appeal to all readers.”—VOYA, starred review
The last thing Harry ÒDitÓ Sims expects when Emma Walker comes to town is to become friends. Propertalking, brainy Emma doesnÕt play baseball or fish too well, but she sure makes Dit think, especially about the differences between black and white in the 1910s. But soon Dit is thinking about a whole lot more when the town barber, who is black, is put on trial for a terrible crime. Together Dit and Emma come up with a daring plan to save him from the unthinkable.
Set in 1917 and inspired the by the author's true family history, this novel tells the poignant story of an unexpected friendship between a white farm boy and an African-American city girl--and the ripples it sends through a rural Alabama town.
About the Author
Kristin Levine received her BA in German from Swarthmore College and an MFA in film from American University. She spent a year in Vienna, Austria, working as an au pair, and has taught screenwriting at American University. Currently, she lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her two daughters. She is the author of the critically acclaimed The Best Luck I Ever Had, The Lions of Little Rock, and The Paper Cowboy.