Synopses & Reviews
has always been a
but it's never gotten him in trouble - until one day when two detectives escort him out of class for questioning. Matt has been accused of threatening to blow up Rocky River High School.
has always been an
A loner with fierce, staring eyes, Ursula has no time for petty high school stuff like friends and dating - or at least that's what she tells herself. Ursula is content with minding her own business. And she doesn't even really know Matt Donaghy.
But Ursula is the only person who knows what Matt really said that day . . . and she is the only one who can help him.
In her first novel for young adults, acclaimed author Joyce Carol Oates has created a provocative and unflinching story of friendship and family, and of loyalty and betrayal.
"Believable, full-blooded characters propel Oates's first YA novel past some plotting that doesn't quite add up....Readers will relate to the pressures these two experience, both at school and from their parents, and be gratified by their ability to emerge the wiser." Publishers Weekly
"Distinguished novelist Oates' first young adult novel is a thought-provoking, character-driven drama about the climate of hysteria created by school violence in America, and how two teenagers find the courage to fight it and to find themselves in the process. Ursula, who tells her part of the story in an edgy, often angry first-person voice, appears at first to be the more interesting character, but Matt...gradually emerges as a sweetly engaging, multidimensional character in his own right. His aching loneliness will break readers' hearts." Booklist
"Oates has a good ear for the speech, the family relations, the e-mail messaging, the rumor mills, and the easy cruelties waiting just beneath the veneer of civility. Matt's character and especially the heroic Ursula's are depicted with a raw honesty. Readers will be propelled through these pages by an intense curiosity to learn how events will play out. Oates has written a fast-moving, timely, compelling story."
Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY, School Library Journal
“Believable, full-blooded characters. Convincing high-school back-drop.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A divinely readable novel, one of the finest and most provocative in any genre of late.” Ruminator Review
Middle and high school kids will find a lot rings true in “Big Mouth and Ugly Girl.” San Francisco Chronicle
“A thought-provoking, character-driven drama.” ALA Booklist (starred review)
“A fast-moving, timely, compelling story.” School Library Journal
“Compelling. Honest and penetrating.” Kirkus Reviews
“A superb story bursting with themes relevant to high school life today.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Gripping.” Washington Post
“Should bring Oates a whole new generation of fans.” Denver Rocky Mountain News
About the Author
Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys and Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member since 1978 of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.