By Luisa LaFleur, The Children’s Book Review
Published: October 10, 2013
eBook: 183 pages
Paperback: 232 pages
Age Range: 15 and up
Publisher: Featherweight Publishing
What to expect: Teenage Romance, Thematic Concepts
Set in a small town in North Carolina, Hush Puppy is a wonder of a book. Lisa T. Cresswell’s writing is simple and clean and clearly evokes the emotional expectations of teenage romance and the tense nature of high school. Encompassing a wide array of thematic concepts, Hush Puppy provides ample fodder for discussion and would be perfect food for thought for parents and teenagers.
The narrator is a confident and intelligent young woman named Corinne who longs to leave her small town and head off to college. Cared for by her grandmother and surrounded by a large, loving extended family, Corinne has weathered the absence of her parents better than expected. Corinne is about to begin her senior year of high school when she meets a new boy, Jamie Armstrong. Jamie is a poet and a dreamer at heart and this is perhaps fuelled by the dire circumstances he finds himself in—he is aimless and afraid, and although he is smart enough to get into college, he is too insecure to try.
“I grew up in High Rock, a muddy bathwater lake with snapping turtles…and a boy named James Armstrong. That boy was a poet, no doubt, through and through.”
Surrounded by controversy almost from the very beginning, Jamie and Corinne’s relationship appears doomed—their respective families don’t approve and the society they live in doesn’t accept interracial relationships. Corinne herself has a hard time trusting Jamie, resulting in a tense internal conflict between her emotions and her rational thoughts. Several events test the bonds of their friendship and eventually the very foundation of their relationship.
This is a book for mature readers, as it includes adult content and deals with many serious, thought-provoking issues such as the absence of Corinne’s parents, which is a source of pain for her and an excellent starting point for dealing with questions of love and loss. The violence that Jamie suffers at the hands of his father is another troubling situation that is faced by many but discussed by few. Hush Puppy brings these characters to life and readers will feel for them and, hopefully, learn from them.
Add this book to your collection: Hush Puppy
About the Author
Lisa T. Cresswell, like most writers, began scribbling silly notes, stories, and poems at a very young age. Born in North Carolina, the South proved fertile ground to her imagination with its beautiful white sand beaches and red earth. In fifth grade, she wrote, directed and starred in a play “The Queen of the Nile” at school, despite the fact that she is decidedly un-Egyptian looking. Perhaps that’s why she went on to become a real life archaeologist?
Unexpectedly transplanted to Idaho as a teenager, Lisa learned to love the desert and the wide open skies out West. This is where her interest in cultures, both ancient and living, really took root, and she became a Great Basin archaeologist. However, the itch to write never did leave for long. Her first books became the middle grade fantasy trilogy, The Storyteller Series. Her first traditionally published work, Hush Puppy, is now available from Featherweight Press.
Lisa still lives in Idaho with her family and a menagerie of furry critters that includes way too many llamas!
For more information, visit: lisatcresswell.com
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