________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 19. . . .January 21, 2011



Liane Shaw.
Toronto, ON: Second Story Press, 2011.
256 pp., pbk., $11.95.
ISBN 978-1-897187-90-6.

Grades 9-11 / Ages 14-16.

Review by Alicia Cheng.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Review Copy.



I've been standing here so long that I don't see anyone else on the steps. Great. Late the first day. Not a good start. Would have been easier to disappear into the woodwork if I got here on time. I promised myself I was going to keep it clean and follow all the stupid rules in this school so that no one would notice me. Not to mention the fact that I have to follow the rules or I screw up my probation....

Grouphome girl.


It's all the same to me.

And so it begins, again.


Sadie Thompson, otherwise known as Fostergirl, is at a new high school, in a new group home located in a small town. It's school and home number 13 lucky number 13. Sadie's goal at this new environment is to go unnoticed. She's not interested in making friends. She intends to keep to herself until her sixteenth birthday. Then she can appeal to live alone, to become independent and get away. However, there's the school counselor who seems to have endless beliefs in Sadie's abilities. Mrs. Jackson shows Sadie methods to cope with school and shows her that she can succeed at school. On the first day of school, Sadie is befriended by a fellow student called Rhiannon, a girl known to the school as someone whose family collects foster girls. Although Sadie doesn't seem to mind Rhiannon's friendship, she continues to act indifferent. Being alone is the only way she can protect herself from hurting.

      Fostergirls takes readers through an unwanted teenager's journey of change as she learns how to cope with her history and her surroundings. Moving from foster home to foster home, Sadie has lost hope of happiness, but deep inside, there is still a tiny linger of hope. She needs to learn to accept who she is and open herself to others. Rhiannon's persistence in their friendship makes Sadie realize that she can try to trust and let people into her life again.

      Liane Shaw gives a realistic portrayal of a foster girl's life of uncertainty, hopelessness, and the inability to change her environment. She cannot make decisions; she has no choice about whom she lives with and where she lives. The novel realistically shows the solitude and loneliness Sadie goes through as she tries to figure out what she wants and who she is. After reading this novel, readers will realize that there is always light and hope in the next corner.


Alicia Cheng is a Children's Librarian at Vancouver Public Library in Vancouver, BC.

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