Being Fishkill
Fishkill Carmel fends for herself, with her fists if need be — until a thwarted lunch theft introduces her to strange, sunny Duck-Duck and a chance for a new start. Born in the backseat of a moving car, Carmel Fishkill was unceremoniously pushed into a world that refuses to offer her security, stability, love. At age thirteen, she begins to fight back. Carmel Fishkill becomes Fishkill Carmel, who deflects her tormenters with a strong left hook and conceals her secrets from teachers and social workers. But Fishkill’s fierce defenses falter when she meets eccentric optimist Duck-Duck Farina, and soon they, along with Duck-Duck’s mother, Molly, form a tentative family, even as Fishkill struggles to understand her place in it. This fragile new beginning is threatened by the reappearance of Fishkill’s unstable mother — and by unfathomable tragedy. Poet Ruth Lehrer’s young adult debut is a stunning, revelatory look at what defines and sustains “family.” And, just as it does for Fishkill, meeting Duck-Duck Farina and her mother will leave readers forever changed.

Being Fishkill Details

TitleBeing Fishkill
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 14th, 2017
PublisherCandlewick Press
ISBN-139780763684426
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Glbt, Contemporary

Being Fishkill Review

  • S.M. Parker
    January 1, 1970
    This novel is phenomenal. BEYOND phenomenal. I fell in love with the fierce 12-year-old Fishkill on page one and my love for her never dissipated. Even now, long after I’ve closed the book, Fishkill stays with me. She is vibrant and strong and so full of life. She is unlike any other character I’ve met in a book and for that reason alone you should pick up this debut. There are a million reasons why you won’t be able to put it down. Lehrer’s debut novel is an intricately woven tale of rural pove This novel is phenomenal. BEYOND phenomenal. I fell in love with the fierce 12-year-old Fishkill on page one and my love for her never dissipated. Even now, long after I’ve closed the book, Fishkill stays with me. She is vibrant and strong and so full of life. She is unlike any other character I’ve met in a book and for that reason alone you should pick up this debut. There are a million reasons why you won’t be able to put it down. Lehrer’s debut novel is an intricately woven tale of rural poverty and the will it takes to survive abuse and neglect. Her writing ensnares you as you learn the story of a young girl who endures a loveless childhood—and see her wrestle with the enormous leap of faith it takes for her to trust people after a lifetime of being disappointed, and worse. Lehrer gets rural poor right. The isolation, the systemic lack of education and access, the hunger and need. Being Fishkill is not an easy novel to read at times but it is an important one. It will change you. The two main characters—Fishkill and DuckDuck—are two of the most inspiring, brilliant, REAL kids I’ve met on the page. You will love them. You will cry for them. It is hard to write a review for this book because it is so lovely and so richly crafted, but it is also painful. There is truth on the page. Hard truth. This book utterly wrecked me. I was stunned by its beauty (both language and story) and I couldn’t put it down. I wouldn’t put it down. Lehrer has crushed my heart into a million pieces and I will never forgive her for it. Okay, I will. But I’m not ready yet. I am left with a voracious hunger to read whatever Lehrer writes next.Do yourself a favor and read this book. It is a triumph.
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  • Bridget Hodder
    January 1, 1970
    BEING FISHKILL is powerful, moving, sometimes harrowing, and always deeply felt, with language so beautiful that it comes as no surprise when you learn the author is also a well-respected poet. This is a novel I've heard buzz about for years, and it's published by Candlewick. So I was a little nervous when I received my ARC of it at last, not sure anything could live up to my expectations for it. But it far exceeded my expectations. In fact, the story, the characters, the way it made me feel, we BEING FISHKILL is powerful, moving, sometimes harrowing, and always deeply felt, with language so beautiful that it comes as no surprise when you learn the author is also a well-respected poet. This is a novel I've heard buzz about for years, and it's published by Candlewick. So I was a little nervous when I received my ARC of it at last, not sure anything could live up to my expectations for it. But it far exceeded my expectations. In fact, the story, the characters, the way it made me feel, were all so unexpected, it transcended anything I could have imagined.I know this praise sounds over-the-top. It isn't. The prose is effortless in this book; the pages fly by. Yet somehow, author Lehrer has created a protagonist who comes to life so completely, you can't stop thinking about her even after the book ends. You want to call her up to check in, to see how things are going, to find out what she's up to and whether she's okay. But I just know she's going to be okay. Anyone who could handle the unrelenting abuse and neglect that Fishkill's life has thrown at her so far, with the determination and spark she's shown, is going to triumph.Just like this book does-- it triumphs.Highly recommended.
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  • Jeff Zentner
    January 1, 1970
    Y'all, this book is absolutely extraordinary. So beautiful and real and gritty and wrenching and filled with heart and humor. If you liked THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN or KIDS OF APPETITE, I think you'll like this.
  • Linda Williams Jackson
    January 1, 1970
    I’ll start this review off with a conversation I had with the author via Twitter DM’ing:ME: Your book is something special.AUTHOR: Did you finish?ME: Just read the last word. Gosh. I have all the feels. I don't want to do anything else today. I just want to sit here and hold the book. But I can't. :(AUTHOR: Aww - at least you're not like a good half of my readers who say they will never forgive me ;)ME: Well, I was a little upset. But you really redeemed yourself with the ending. Plus, I acciden I’ll start this review off with a conversation I had with the author via Twitter DM’ing:ME: Your book is something special.AUTHOR: Did you finish?ME: Just read the last word. Gosh. I have all the feels. I don't want to do anything else today. I just want to sit here and hold the book. But I can't. :(AUTHOR: Aww - at least you're not like a good half of my readers who say they will never forgive me ;)ME: Well, I was a little upset. But you really redeemed yourself with the ending. Plus, I accidentally flipped to a page and saw (spoiler). I hurriedly looked away and HOPED it meant something else…. The rest of the book was very hard to read, but you handled it like a boss. You brought beauty out of the ashes. ...your book is the real deal…. I really do hope that it gets the attention that it deserves.Now, a few words to make this an official review….First off, Ruth Lehrer can write! Yes, I know that all writers can write, but not all writers write in a way that makes the reader want to read the same sentence multiple times. Not all writers can make a reader laugh and cry at the same time. And not all writers can write something so painful, yet make the reader feel that everything really will be okay. That these characters will eventually heal, and so will we.Secondly, parts of Fishkill’s story were very hard for me to read, so much so that I had to put the book down. I grew up in poverty (minus the abuse that Fishkill experienced), and parts of the story caused painful flashbacks—situations that I had forgotten that I endured. Even more painful is the reality that BEING FISHKILL is a contemporary story, meaning kids are still living in dire poverty like the main character. Note: On the day that I finished this novel, I delivered a trunk-load of food from my church to another local church to stock their food pantry. From this pantry, backpacks will be filled in order for local school children to take home for the weekend so that they won’t miss a meal on Saturday and Sunday—non-school days. Any of these kids could be Fishkill Carmel or a school-age version of myself—a kid who saved half of my school lunch whenever I could in order to take home to my mom who hadn’t eaten all day. Ruth Lehrer painted a true picture of poverty in this novel.And finally, the reason that some readers might get angry at the author is because she has created characters with whom you become emotionally connected, then she allows reality to come into play. She allows BAD THINGS TO HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE. Much like we do with God, we want to yell at the author and say, “Sure this is real, but you’re the god of this story! You can choose to only allow good things to happen to the good people and make bad things happen to the bad people!”But Ruth Lehrer doesn’t do that. She doesn’t make it easy for us. She breaks our hearts. She lets us feel that pain. Then she mends our hearts. And she shows us that when life hands us lemons, we can choose to let them shrivel up, or we can add a little sugar and squeeze them into lemonade.My review is based on an ARC, but I can't wait to get a hardcover of this treasure when it releases in November.
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  • Elly Swartz
    January 1, 1970
    Being Fishkill by Ruth Lehrer, equal parts heart warming and heart breaking. A deeply moving story of one girl’s journey to finding family, love and acceptance. Lehrer does an exceptional job exploring the frailty of heart and creating characters we come to love. Deeply. Fishkill and Duck-Duck are truly unique. This is a hauntingly beautiful story. Highly recommend.I was given an arc for my honest review.
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  • Christine Grecsek
    January 1, 1970
    Being Fishkill left me utterly shattered at a rest area on Interstate 84 in New York, ironically not far from the Carmel/Fishkill exit (fortunately my partner was driving.) Fishkill, Duck-Duck, Molly - the vivid characters Ruth Lehrer has created - are now a part of me too and I'll always be grateful to Ruth for the introduction.
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  • Margot Harrison
    January 1, 1970
    You know an author has a strong, authentic voice when her 12-year-old narrator starts giving you flashbacks to being 12 years old, dredging up feelings and experiences you'd forgotten.BEING FISHKILL made me feel like I was back in a rural New England middle school, surrounded by poverty and prejudice that people took for granted. It also reminded me of a book that wrecked me when I was that age, a book that made me happy and then made me cry for hours. (Naming that book might be a spoiler, so le You know an author has a strong, authentic voice when her 12-year-old narrator starts giving you flashbacks to being 12 years old, dredging up feelings and experiences you'd forgotten.BEING FISHKILL made me feel like I was back in a rural New England middle school, surrounded by poverty and prejudice that people took for granted. It also reminded me of a book that wrecked me when I was that age, a book that made me happy and then made me cry for hours. (Naming that book might be a spoiler, so let's just say it's generally considered a YA classic.)When we say that a book "wrecked us" or broached difficult subject matter, it's easy for readers to assume that book will be a somber, difficult read. So it's important to emphasize that BEING FISHKILL is fun and funny and joyful (mostly—not always!). It's joyful because Fishkill's friendship with Duck-Duck is so sweet and real. It's joyful because both girls are hilarious.And, most of all, it's a joyful read because Fishkill is so upbeat, smart, and resilient. This is a girl who renamed herself into a force to be reckoned with. A girl who is determined to survive whatever life throws at her. She reminds me of the heroine of Dorothy Allison's BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA: a voice you're going to keep hearing long, long after you close the book.I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kathy MacMillan
    January 1, 1970
    Fishkill Carmel is a tough-as-nails heroine with a desperate secret. Christine Farina, better known as Duck-Duck, is the quirky idealist who sees through the tough façade and appoints herself Fishkill’s new best friend. What follows is a tale full of poignant moments of friendship, exploring everything from the stirrings of sexual attraction between the two girls, to the nuances of girl bullying, to the ways the system fails those without resources. What I loved most about this book is that it t Fishkill Carmel is a tough-as-nails heroine with a desperate secret. Christine Farina, better known as Duck-Duck, is the quirky idealist who sees through the tough façade and appoints herself Fishkill’s new best friend. What follows is a tale full of poignant moments of friendship, exploring everything from the stirrings of sexual attraction between the two girls, to the nuances of girl bullying, to the ways the system fails those without resources. What I loved most about this book is that it treats Fishkill’s struggles with middle school social life with the same gravity it treats her family situation – only fitting, as both are integral parts of a middle schooler’s life. Fishkill’s inimitable voice – all hardness yearning for softness – comes through from page one, and readers will root for her to find the family she so needs. Just as in the real world, no one gets off easy, and no character is all good or all bad. Prepare to have your heart broken and put back together again by this funny, sad, immersive, and excellent book.I received an Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Dahlia
    January 1, 1970
    Well, that went ahead and ripped my heart clean out of my chest. Definitely a recommended read for a book with rural poverty. There are a few things I felt were left a little like open-ended mysteries, but they felt true to what the character would know/be able to access. Really interesting to read a YA that is definitely a YA but with a 12-13yo protag, especially since she's sort of exploring her sexuality without even really seeming to realize that's what she's doing. I would so love to check Well, that went ahead and ripped my heart clean out of my chest. Definitely a recommended read for a book with rural poverty. There are a few things I felt were left a little like open-ended mysteries, but they felt true to what the character would know/be able to access. Really interesting to read a YA that is definitely a YA but with a 12-13yo protag, especially since she's sort of exploring her sexuality without even really seeming to realize that's what she's doing. I would so love to check in with Fishkill a few years down the line if that were possible, and that's one of my favorite signs that I really enjoyed a book. cw: abuse, homophobic and ableist slurs
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  • Monica Tesler
    January 1, 1970
    Being Fishikill is a powerful, devastating, masterful book. I finished it last week, and I'm still picking myself up in pieces.
  • Heidi Heilig
    January 1, 1970
    I'm devastated and uplifted and still teary eyed. This beautiful debut, following the story of a life changing first-love/friendship between twelve year olds Fishkill and Duck-Duck, weaves a delicate poetry around the harsh realities of poverty, family, the things you lose and find as you grow up. I've been waiting to read this book for nearly two years and it was worth every second.
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  • Kim Savage
    January 1, 1970
    Review forthcoming. I received an ARC from the author.
  • Katy Upperman
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my gosh, this is such an affecting novel; I can’t imagine myself ever forgetting its remarkable characters. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I began reading, but as I became immersed in the story of Fishkill, a twelve-year-old girl from a tragically abusive and neglectful family, her friend, Duck-Duck, and Duck-Duck’s mother, Molly, I felt simultaneously heartbroken and hopeful. Being Fishkill is about chosen family and resilience — of children in particular. It will devastat Oh my gosh, this is such an affecting novel; I can’t imagine myself ever forgetting its remarkable characters. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I began reading, but as I became immersed in the story of Fishkill, a twelve-year-old girl from a tragically abusive and neglectful family, her friend, Duck-Duck, and Duck-Duck’s mother, Molly, I felt simultaneously heartbroken and hopeful. Being Fishkill is about chosen family and resilience — of children in particular. It will devastate you with its honesty and stun you with its gorgeous prose, and just when you think Fishkill can’t possibly endure another setback (because she endures many, many setbacks), she will reaffirm your faith in humanity with her strength of character, her humor, and her enormous heart. I want to mention, too, that as someone who’s been through foster care training and is currently caring for a child who is not biologically mine, this book reads as incredibly accurate, both in its depiction of the child welfare system, and its portrayal of the emotions that stem from foster parenting. Please do check Being Fishkill out when it releases this fall.
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  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    What an astounding debut!The world Ruth Lehrer has created here is so vibrant it immediately envelops the reader. Every word contributes. Every sentence builds. BEING FISHKILL is a story full of hard truths and hard people living hard lives. It's simultaneously a punch to the gut and a kiss.In this story about a young girl named Carmel Fishkill who decides to become Fishkill Carmel instead, Lehrer explores what defines family, and how we can either choose to let our families define us or let the What an astounding debut!The world Ruth Lehrer has created here is so vibrant it immediately envelops the reader. Every word contributes. Every sentence builds. BEING FISHKILL is a story full of hard truths and hard people living hard lives. It's simultaneously a punch to the gut and a kiss.In this story about a young girl named Carmel Fishkill who decides to become Fishkill Carmel instead, Lehrer explores what defines family, and how we can either choose to let our families define us or let them go. The story is full of heartbreak and humor, as young Fishkill creates new bonds with a local woman named Molly and her daughter, Duck Duck. Their journey of truth and change is riveting, and the language alone will blow you away. Lehrer's voice is so authentic I was gobsmacked. A fresh voice and a remarkable story.If you like stories about families with secrets and love and real, hard lives, add BEING FISHKILL to your TBR immediately. (readers 14 & up)(I received an ARC in exchange for a fair review.)
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  • Corabel Shofner
    January 1, 1970
    Being Fishkill. With a name like that I'm grabbing for the book. My friend handed me the ARC saying this book will break your heart and then put it back together. She was so right. The story of Fishkill and Duck Duck unfolds logically and emotionally. They are young women you know and want to know better. You care about them. And you understand how they care about each other. Some mothers are walking tragedies like Keely and others are angels like Molly. We have to live on this earth with both. Being Fishkill. With a name like that I'm grabbing for the book. My friend handed me the ARC saying this book will break your heart and then put it back together. She was so right. The story of Fishkill and Duck Duck unfolds logically and emotionally. They are young women you know and want to know better. You care about them. And you understand how they care about each other. Some mothers are walking tragedies like Keely and others are angels like Molly. We have to live on this earth with both. These four souls are bound together in love and loss.Ruth Lehrer has a delicate hand. She writes tragic scenes, which many writers have tried and failed, with grace and disjointed senses. She brings the story together at the end without blinking. This. is. life.
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  • Jennifer Fenn
    January 1, 1970
    “I got the re-carnation part of a butterfly’s life, but it had always seemed to me like they changed in the wrong direction. Butterflies are pretty and have wings, which is nice, but caterpillars are tougher.” Ruth Lehrer has created a cast of incredibly authentic, memorable characters in “Being Fishkill,” an affecting middle-grade novel about the definition of family. Fishkill is a 7th grader facing heartbreaking neglect and poverty. She’s a survivor, living on her own, stealing food and scrapi “I got the re-carnation part of a butterfly’s life, but it had always seemed to me like they changed in the wrong direction. Butterflies are pretty and have wings, which is nice, but caterpillars are tougher.” Ruth Lehrer has created a cast of incredibly authentic, memorable characters in “Being Fishkill,” an affecting middle-grade novel about the definition of family. Fishkill is a 7th grader facing heartbreaking neglect and poverty. She’s a survivor, living on her own, stealing food and scraping together enough change to keep the electricity on in her deceased grandfather’s trailer when she meets Duck-Duck, who “smelled like a vanilla wafer with hot cocoa on the side” and claims Duck-Duck is her gang name. “The Gumbo Rumbles, featuring Duck-Duck Farina.” Despite Fishkill’s vow to be “cold and scaly” and “dangerous,” her friendship with Duck-Duck grows, ultimately dramatically impacting both their lives. Fishkill’s circumstances, including her abusive grandfather and intermittently absent mother, are tragic, but her story in infused with humor, particularly as Fishkill gets to know Duck-Duck and her mother Molly. Duck-Duck is witty, a self-proclaimed ‘lawyer’ and gang leader. “I thought it was kind of cool that Duck-Duck’s mother thought her daughter was smart enough to be an extremist.”“‘How about we make next month Shotgun Month? This month is Socially Responsible Month,’ said Duck-Duck.” Lehrer’s prose is wonderful, and Fishkill’s story is engrossing from beginning to end, making for a memorable and moving debut!
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  • Wendy MacKnight
    January 1, 1970
    What a jewel of a novel. There are rare novels where the characters crawl into your heart and won't let go. Fishkill Carmel is such a character. A story of finding your real family and a place in a world that doesn't concern itself with poor children. This novel is sheer poetry and Ruth Lehrer's command of language and characters is breathtaking. Unforgettable.
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  • Kali Wallace
    January 1, 1970
    This is a lovely and powerful book with a breathtakingly honest portrayal of growing up young and angry and scared in a setting of extreme rural poverty, with a heartbreaking look at friendship and family and the places where they overlap.
  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    I have been anxiously awaiting Lehrer's debut novel, Being Fishkill, and having just finished it, it was worth the wait. Honest, gritty and moving, this is the story of Fishkill Carmel, whose mother named her after a New York highway sign they pass as she gives birth to her. Originally named Carmel, Fishkill decides to reinvent herself - to become tougher and more dangerous so that no one can hurt her. Then she meets Duck-Duck, and Duck-Duck's mom, Molly, and finds her life changed. This book wa I have been anxiously awaiting Lehrer's debut novel, Being Fishkill, and having just finished it, it was worth the wait. Honest, gritty and moving, this is the story of Fishkill Carmel, whose mother named her after a New York highway sign they pass as she gives birth to her. Originally named Carmel, Fishkill decides to reinvent herself - to become tougher and more dangerous so that no one can hurt her. Then she meets Duck-Duck, and Duck-Duck's mom, Molly, and finds her life changed. This book was beautifully written. I felt so much for Fishkill. She felt so real to me. I know that the characters of Fishkill, Duck-Duck and Molly will be with me for a long time. I am so excited to re-read this again when it comes out in November. I am very much looking forward to Lehrer's next book.
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  • Amy Giles
    January 1, 1970
    Never has a book made me laugh and cry so hard, page after page, from beginning to the end. Fishkill and Duck-Duck (Duk-Duk) are two of my favorite book people: Fishkill, who is TOO strong and resilient for her own good, and Duck-Duck, with her hilarious grasp of the legal system. The writing is poetic (no wonder, the author is a poet), and the description of food made me yearn for waffle and jam for lunch, roast chicken, and Yodels, the one thing Fishkill knows she’ll need to survive. I love ho Never has a book made me laugh and cry so hard, page after page, from beginning to the end. Fishkill and Duck-Duck (Duk-Duk) are two of my favorite book people: Fishkill, who is TOO strong and resilient for her own good, and Duck-Duck, with her hilarious grasp of the legal system. The writing is poetic (no wonder, the author is a poet), and the description of food made me yearn for waffle and jam for lunch, roast chicken, and Yodels, the one thing Fishkill knows she’ll need to survive. I love how quirky these two friends are together and how their flawed logic actually makes sense in a world that is completely nonsensical. This is a book that will move you and leave you shaken, broken, and yet somehow, “re-carnated.” (I received an ARC)
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  • Carrie Firestone
    January 1, 1970
    Being Fishkill was a beautiful, stunning, heart-wrenching book. I can't get it out of my head. There are so many things that made this book unforgettable, but it was the detailed portrayal of one family's struggle to survive in abject poverty that I will carry with me. We all know Fishkill Carmels. We all know mothers who haven't learned how to mother. And men who are cruel to their core. And people like Molly who refuse to let the jaded world color their capacity to love. We know these people. Being Fishkill was a beautiful, stunning, heart-wrenching book. I can't get it out of my head. There are so many things that made this book unforgettable, but it was the detailed portrayal of one family's struggle to survive in abject poverty that I will carry with me. We all know Fishkill Carmels. We all know mothers who haven't learned how to mother. And men who are cruel to their core. And people like Molly who refuse to let the jaded world color their capacity to love. We know these people. But Being Fishkill forces us to ask ourselves: What kind of person will I choose to be? I loved this book!
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  • Kathleen Glasgow
    January 1, 1970
    This book is deeply beautiful and raw. An excellent coming-of-age that isn't afraid to tackle issues of class, I think it will spark great conversation between students and teachers and would make a great choice for book clubs. Lehrer has crafted a timely, haunting, and resonant book about a girl struggling to survive her perilous circumstances. Buried within Fishkill's story is also the story of a friendship that will tug at your heart.
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  • Stephanie Elliot
    January 1, 1970
    This book blew me away! Poetic, harsh, gritty, affecting, BEING FISHKILL is a stunning debut about a girl who finds her way through abuse into the arms of a caring family. But life is not as easy as it seems - Fishkill's abusive mother is not too keen on letting her go, and tragedy strikes. Hopeful and honest, Being Fishkill is an extraordinary novel by a talented author. I will read anything Ruth Lehrer publishes, and I will not forget Fishy and Duk-Duk and their beautiful friendship.
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  • Jenn Bishop
    January 1, 1970
    There are some books that remind you exactly why you write. And that's funny, because they're often the books that are so well-written, whose prose is so clear, so honest, so true, and whose characters feel so utterly real that you simultaneously want to just give up at writing because your writing can never be *that* good. BEING FISHKILL is one of those rare books. Lehrer's writing cuts to the bone with her searingly honest portrayal of twelve-year-old Fishkill Carmel. Named after a highway sig There are some books that remind you exactly why you write. And that's funny, because they're often the books that are so well-written, whose prose is so clear, so honest, so true, and whose characters feel so utterly real that you simultaneously want to just give up at writing because your writing can never be *that* good. BEING FISHKILL is one of those rare books. Lehrer's writing cuts to the bone with her searingly honest portrayal of twelve-year-old Fishkill Carmel. Named after a highway sign, Fishkill has had a hard go at it for the first dozen years of her life, with an abusive grandfather and a neglectful mother as her legal caregivers. But things change when she meets Duck-Duck, a precocious and unforgettable newcomer to her school. Duck-Duck doesn't just befriend her, but sweeps her into her life, fully, a stable life of comfort and plenty, with a single mother, Molly, with extra love to give. I hesitate to speak more of the plot for fear of giving anything away, so I'll end with this: Duck-Duck and Fishkill are two characters that will stay with you forever. Theirs is a special bond, and I feel so lucky to have been able to read this book as an ARC. Can't wait to have my very own copy in November.
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  • Heather Meloche
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this truly amazing novel. Lehrer's debut drops the reader into the tragic life of Carmel Fishkill, whose learned to protect herself by shoring up her strength and changing her identity to the more threatening-sounding Fishkill Carmel since "Fish - cold and scaly. Kill - dangerous..." Fishkill's dirt-poor life with her abusive grandfather and her checked-out young mother is poetically and viscerally written, but Lehrer expertly balances the heaviness of the novel with the pra I received an ARC of this truly amazing novel. Lehrer's debut drops the reader into the tragic life of Carmel Fishkill, whose learned to protect herself by shoring up her strength and changing her identity to the more threatening-sounding Fishkill Carmel since "Fish - cold and scaly. Kill - dangerous..." Fishkill's dirt-poor life with her abusive grandfather and her checked-out young mother is poetically and viscerally written, but Lehrer expertly balances the heaviness of the novel with the pragmatic voice of Fishkill and the dynamic relationship she has with Duck-Duck Farina, a girl fond of using the law to her best advantage. Yet, despite Duck-Duck's penchant for pushing the limits, she has a very loving and stable home life. Through Duck-Duck and her mother, Molly, Fishkill learns what it means to be a real family and how to survive no matter what the circumstances. This novel with whip-smart dialogue, perfectly drawn characters, and a story like none out there, will instantly draw in the reader and then deftly break their heart while reminding them of what truly feeds the human spirit and keeps us going.
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  • Shannon (Mrsreadsbooks)
    January 1, 1970
    I hadn't heard much about this book when I recieved an ARC fromt he publisher. Our main character, 13 year old Carmel Fishkill, was born in the back of a moving car and named after the highway overpass sign her mother saw as she was being born. I really liked Fishkill as a character, she is strong and fierce. The story is hard and gritty throughout most of the book, dealing with things like rural poverty. The other main character Duck-Duck is also sure to catch your attention, along with her rel I hadn't heard much about this book when I recieved an ARC fromt he publisher. Our main character, 13 year old Carmel Fishkill, was born in the back of a moving car and named after the highway overpass sign her mother saw as she was being born. I really liked Fishkill as a character, she is strong and fierce. The story is hard and gritty throughout most of the book, dealing with things like rural poverty. The other main character Duck-Duck is also sure to catch your attention, along with her relationship with Fishkill. I really enjoyed the author's writing and the story will hold your attention from the very first page. Thank you to the publisher, Candlewick Press, for sending me an ARC of this book.
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  • Ki-Wing
    January 1, 1970
    Heartbreaking, beautiful, real. I will be thinking about these characters for a long time. Seventh grader Carmel Fishkill has “re-carnated” herself as Fishkill Carmel: someone tough enough to face down school bullies and even take something from the world for herself; someone strong enough to survive. She’s in the middle of nabbing her lunch when Duck-Duck Farina slams her hand down on Fishkill’s. And so, the girls meet and Fishkill’s life begins to change. This is a story to be treasured. It op Heartbreaking, beautiful, real. I will be thinking about these characters for a long time. Seventh grader Carmel Fishkill has “re-carnated” herself as Fishkill Carmel: someone tough enough to face down school bullies and even take something from the world for herself; someone strong enough to survive. She’s in the middle of nabbing her lunch when Duck-Duck Farina slams her hand down on Fishkill’s. And so, the girls meet and Fishkill’s life begins to change. This is a story to be treasured. It opened my eyes; it crushed my heart; Ruth Lehrer’s prose speaks to me still. Highly recommended.
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  • Joanne O'Sullivan
    January 1, 1970
    From the first page I was all in with Fishkill, whose tough, knowing voice masks the heavy burdens she carries for a child of only twelve- a life of neglect, poverty, abuse and secrets. When she crosses paths with Duck-Duck Farina, her eyes begin to open to the possibility of a different life- one with a caring parent and a true friend. As Fishkill struggles to escape from the forces that have held her back and begins to trust, there is more heartache in store for her, but ultimately, there is h From the first page I was all in with Fishkill, whose tough, knowing voice masks the heavy burdens she carries for a child of only twelve- a life of neglect, poverty, abuse and secrets. When she crosses paths with Duck-Duck Farina, her eyes begin to open to the possibility of a different life- one with a caring parent and a true friend. As Fishkill struggles to escape from the forces that have held her back and begins to trust, there is more heartache in store for her, but ultimately, there is hope. The characters in this book are so finely drawn, you will never forget them, the writing so pitch perfect in its emotion, restraint, humor and dignity- this is a powerhouse of a story.
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  • K.L. Hallam
    January 1, 1970
    What a work of art, beautifully written, thoroughly painful and difficult to read at times, the author also had me laughing out loud with her poignant humor, which was needed considering the life twelve-year-old Carmen Fishkill has to deal with. Fishkill endures some staggering odd in life until she finds allies. She’ tough, no doubt about it; she moves forward, and then back again, and you just can’t stop reading this painful, hopeful, agonizing, and life-affirming book. You won't be able to fo What a work of art, beautifully written, thoroughly painful and difficult to read at times, the author also had me laughing out loud with her poignant humor, which was needed considering the life twelve-year-old Carmen Fishkill has to deal with. Fishkill endures some staggering odd in life until she finds allies. She’ tough, no doubt about it; she moves forward, and then back again, and you just can’t stop reading this painful, hopeful, agonizing, and life-affirming book. You won't be able to forget it, either. A literary treat, by poet and author Ruth Lehrer.
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  • Karen Fortunati
    January 1, 1970
    This needs to be on everyone's radar! Tragic and triumphant and stunningly gorgeous writing! A book I could not put down. It's a wonder and Ruth Lehrer is a writer to watch!
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