Synopses & Reviews
Seventeen-year-old Shavonne has been in juvenile detention since the seventh grade. Mr. Delpopolo is the first counselor to treat her as an equal, and he helps her get to the bottom of her self-destructive behavior, her guilt about past actions, and her fears about leaving the Center when she turns eighteen. Shavonne tells him the truth about her crack-addicted mother, the child she had (and gave up to foster care) at fifteen, and the secret shame she feels about what she did to her younger brother after her mother abandoned them. Meanwhile, Shavonne's mentally unstable roommate Cinda makes a rash move, and Shavonne's quick thinking saves her life—and gives her the opportunity to get out of the Center if she behaves well. But Shavonne's faith is tested when her new roommate, mentally retarded and pregnant Mary, is targeted by a guard as a means to get revenge on Shavonne. As freedom begins to look more and more likely, Shavonne begins to believe that maybe she, like the goslings recently hatched on the Center's property, could have a future somewhere else—and she begins to feel something like hope.
This is a brutally honest but hopeful story of finding yourself and moving beyond your past.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
"Goodman (winner of the Delacorte Press Prize, awarded to first-time novelists) debuts with the wrenching portrayal of a girl who has had to shut down her emotions to survive a childhood of profound physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Shavonne's mother was a drug addict, and Shavonne was placed in foster care when she was six years old, where she faced a myriad of abusive situations. Now 17 and living in a juvenile facility, Shavonne's primary emotion is a burning anger that erupts in violence and will secure her a place in prison when she turns 18, a fact she is unable to care about, despite her desire to regain custody of her two-year-old daughter. But her new therapist, whose vulnerability touches Shavonne despite herself, begins to earn her trust and lead her to a place where she is emotionally strong enough to confront the secret that has haunted her. The story and its trajectory are familiar, but Goodman's delicate prose avoids sentimentality, instead painting a searing picture of a girl who slowly begins to claim the life long stolen from her. Ages 14 up. (Dec.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
PRAISE FOR DANETTE VIGILANTE:
"Readers cannot help but cheer for Dellie and the little boy who helps pull her family together. Rich secondary characters add depth and dimension to this fast-paced tale of bereavement, forgiveness and healing."—Kirkus Reviews
"What will grab readers in this first novel is realistic sense of the diverse neighborhood community, both rough and caring. With lots of fast, immediate dialouge, the characters' grief, anger, and heartbreaking coming-to-terms are realistic."—Booklist
"Vigilante has a nice way with subplots and solid daily life details that bring the book particular warmth...the story is told with considerable appeal and accessibility, and kids won't have to lead the same life as Dellie to recognize her travails."—BCCB
"Dellie's story will speak to young people who've needed a little faith to get them through tough times. Interesting scenarios, like the cloaked Jamaican woman who moves in next door, provide interest to an already well-developed story."—School Library Journal
Readers cannot help but cheer for Dellie and the little boy who helps pull her family together. Rich secondary characters add depth and dimension to this fast-paced tale of bereavement, forgiveness and healing.”Kirkus Reviews
Ever since her brother's death, Dellie's life has been quiet and sad. Her mother cries all the time, and Dellie lives with the horrible guilt that the accident that killed her brother may have been all her fault.
But Dellie's world begins to change when new neighbors move into her housing project building. Suddenly, men are fighting on the stoop and gunfire is sounding off in the night. In the middle of all that trouble is Corey, an abused five-year-old boy, who's often left home alone and hungry. Dellie strikes up a dangerous friendship with this little boy who reminds her so much of her brother. She wonders if she can do for Corey what she couldn't do for her brothersave him.
About the Author
Danette Vigilante (www.danettevigilante.com) grew up in the Red Hook projects in Brooklyn and now lives in Staten Island, New York. Follow her on Twitter @DanetteVig.