Synopses & Reviews
It's 1963 and fourteen-year-old Esther Young is looking for excitement. Cursed with a lack of talent in a family filled with artistic types, Esther vows to get some attention by initiating a summer romance with a black teen accused of murdering a white man in Alabama.
King-Roy Johnson shows up on Esther's doorstep that summer, an angry young man who feels betrayed by the nonviolent teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. Sent north by his mother to escape a lynch mob, he meets a follower of Malcolm X's who uses radical teachings about black revolution to fuel King-Roy's anger and frustration. But with each other's help, both Esther and King-Roy learn the true nature of integrity and find the power to stand up for what is right and true.
National Book Award-winning author Han Nolan brings readers a bold new voice--by turns funny and poignant, innocent and worldly--in this powerful coming-of-age story set during the turbulent struggle for civil rights.
star "Raw, rough, and riveting . . . The writing is superb; like the blues, it bores through the soul. . . . Readers will be absorbed in this intimate and painful voyage."--School Library Journal
"Absolutely riveting . . . Leshaya captivates with her strength and determination."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Leshaya is a survivor. Rescued from the brink of death, this child of a heroin addict has seen it all: revolving foster homes, physical abuse, an unwanted pregnancy. Now, as her tumultuous childhood is coming to an end, she is determined to make a life for herself by doing the only thing that makes her feel whole . . . singing.
Han Nolan pulls no punches in this hard-hitting story of a girl at the bottom who dreams of nothing but the top.
She may be poor, abused, and self-destructive, but Leshaya is determined to become a famous singer like Etta James.
Leshaya is a survivor. Rescued from the brink of death, this child of a heroin addict has seen it all. Nolan pulls no punches in this hard-hitting story of a girl at the bottom who dreams of nothing but the top. Reader's guide and an interview with the author included.
Fifteen-year-old Jason has fallen upon bad timeshis mother has died and his father has succumbed to mental illness. As he tries to hold his crazy father and their crumbling home together, Jason relies on a host of imaginary friends for guidance as he stumbles along trying not to draw attention to his fathers deteriorating condition.
Both heartbreaking and funny, Crazy lives up to the intense and compelling characters Han Nolan is praised for. As Jason himself teeters on the edge of insanity, Nolan uncovers the clever coping system he develops for himself and throws him a lifeline in the guise of friendship.
About the Author
* "Nolan leavens this haunting but hopeful story with spot-on humor and a well developed cast of characters, and she shows with moving clarity the emotional costs of mental illness, especially on teens forced to parent their own parents."--Booklist
, starred review
* "In this distinct and effective blend of sorrow and humor, Jason, once invisible to his classmates and used to the chaos at home, suffers the effects of change when he's enrolled in a lunch-hour group therapy with other wayward teens and his father is taken away...he slowly learns, with the help of his new friends and foster parents, normalcy and how to care for himself first."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Reading Group Guide
Q> Why does Janie change her name to Leshaya? Q> What is it about blues singers like Etta James and Billie Holiday (p4) that touches Leshaya? Q> Why isn't Leshaya happy with the James family? Why does she steal from them? Q> Twice Leshaya decides to leave Etta with Harmon (p115). What is her motive the first time? The second time? Why doesn't Leshaya leave her bag of stolen items? Q> Paul tells Leshaya, "You don't let anybody care about you. You don't let anybody get close enough!" (238) Why do you think Leshaya pushes people away? Q> How does taking care of Mama Linda at the beach house change Leshaya? Q> Do you think Leshaya is following her dreams or running away from things?
Copyright (c) 2003. Published in the U.S. by Harcourt, Inc.