Hearts Unbroken
Hearts Unbroken

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Annotation: Winner of an American Indian Youth Literature Award New York Times best-selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith turns to re... more
Catalog Number: #209832
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 304
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 1-536-21313-6 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-7592-5
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-536-21313-3 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-7592-2
Dewey: Fic
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
In a time when nvoices stories are rising in popularity among YA readers, this brings an insightful story to the conversation. Louise is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation whose family has recently moved to Kansas. She starts working on the school newspaper, and her little brother Hughie gets cast in the school's production of The Wizard of Oz. But a local group, Parents against Revisionist Theater (PART), does not agree with the casting of Hughie and two other students of color in the play, and this leads to some hard experiences and conversations for all involved. While the subject matter of the story is highly relevant, the writing feels disjointed, with short chapters coming across like vignettes as opposed to one cohesive story. This happens within the chapters as well, where scenes often shift abruptly without warning. A romantic subplot accompanies the more politically charged main narrative, as attraction flares between Louise and her newspaper partner t culture clashes intrude even here. Despite its flaws, this is truly a thought-provoking and educational novel.
Kirkus Reviews
"Suburban," Muscogee (Creek) girl Louise "Lou" Wolfe confronts the politics of being Native in an overwhelmingly white high school while finding first love.Smith's (Muscogee) (Feral Pride, 2015, etc.) novel begins "in the residual haze of [Louise's] junior prom." Heedless of Lou's identity, "WASPy boyfriend" Cam insults Native people and then further invalidates the hurt Lou feels. A three-chapter interlude of summer months establishes characters and relationships. The remainder of the story occurs during the autumn of Lou's senior year. Working for the Hive, the school newspaper, she teams up with possible love interest Joey Kairouz to uncover who's behind Parents Against Revisionist Theater and its attempt to pull the curtain on the school's ethnically inclusive fall production of The Wizard of Oz. Anonymous threats, vandalism, and power abuse by parents, school officials, and community members give Smith's story potential to become an Indigenous version of The Chocolate War. Unfortunately, a chapter devoted to explaining the difference between "color-blind" and "color-conscious," overly didactic attempts to teach readers about verbal and visual microaggressions and Native stereotypes, and parenthetical asides that read more like authorial intrusions as opposed to the inner thoughts readers would assume from the story's first-person narration hold it back.Endearing enough for Smith's fans, too many subissues hinder an organic unfolding to convert new readers. (author's note, glossary) (Fiction. 14-18)
Publishers Weekly
Smith-s timely novel considers racial prejudice witnessed and experienced by Muscogee (Creek) Native Louise Wolfe as she pursues typical senior-year activities in a suburban Kansas town. Relative newcomers Lou and her freshman brother, Hughie, wholeheartedly take on high school life: Lou joins the school newspaper, and Hughie is cast as the Tin Man in an inclusive production of The Wizard of Oz. Romance blossoms for Lou with Joey, a Lebanese-American fellow journalist, as resistance to the ethnically diverse casting of Oz begins to build. The school newspaper staff, with Lou and Joey jointly reporting, takes a stand against the newly formed Parents Against Revisionist Theatre, which quickly shows that it is unafraid to play dirty. Smith depicts the Wolfes- warm family life as a stable foundation as Hughie and Lou each confront challenges, and she is especially successful at portraying the camaraderie and conflicts of the newspaper staff. An overload of secondary characters sometimes slows the pace, but the central conflicts and the main characters are convincingly developed, resulting in a thought-provoking work of realistic teen fiction. Ages 14-up. (Nov.)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 9 Up An aspiring journalist navigates friendship, first love, and racial politics in this absorbing novel. Louise Wolfe regrets dumping her first real boyfriend via email instead of face-to-face, but his offensive remarks about Native Americans crossed a line for this proud Muscogee (Creek) teen. As senior year begins, she's focused on helping her little brother, Hughie, adjust to high school life, and on earning her desired beat on the school newspaper. Competing against and falling for Joey, a new kid with a passion for photojournalism, is an added bonus. But when Hughie finds himself at the center of a divisive community conflict centered on the casting of the school production of the Wizard of Oz , Louise struggles to balance her responsibilities as a journalist with a desire to protect her family. Louise is an immediately relatable and authentic teenage voice. Bighearted, ambitious, intelligent, she also has plenty of blind spots, particularly where her relationships are concerned. While most of the secondary characters are only lightly sketched, Louise's quirky, loving family dynamic comes through strong. Realistic profanity and age-appropriate sexual situations are depicted. VERDICT Blending teen romance with complex questions of identity, equality, and censorship, this is an excellent choice for most collections. Chelsea Couillard-Smith, Hennepin County Library, MN
Word Count: 54,437
Reading Level: 5.5
Interest Level: 9-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.5 / points: 8.0 / quiz: 506575 / grade: Upper Grades
Lexile: HL760L

Winner of an American Indian Youth Literature Award

New York Times
best-selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith turns to realistic fiction with the thoughtful story of a Native teen navigating the complicated, confusing waters of high school — and first love.


When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. From the newly formed Parents Against Revisionist Theater to anonymous threats, long-held prejudices are being laid bare and hostilities are spreading against teachers, parents, and students — especially the cast members at the center of the controversy, including Lou’s little brother, who’s playing the Tin Man. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey — but as she’s learned, “dating while Native” can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey’s?


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