Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins by Gail Shepherd - ESSENTIAL

The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins by Gail Shepherd, 297 pages. Kathy Dawson Books (Penguin), 2019. $17. 9780525428459.

Content: Language: PG (7 swears, 0 'F'); Mature content: PG (talk of suicide, PTSD); Violence: PG (fighting, suggestion of gun violence)



Lyndon Baines Hawkins (Lyndie for short) is an 11-year old amateur historian who loves her life in small town Tennessee. But its 1985 and her father, a Vietnam vet, is struggling with unnamed PTSD and loses his job, forcing the family to move in with Lyndie's grandparents. Lyndie and her very proper grandmother, Lady, butt heads from the get-go and Lyndie is forever being told how a proper young lady should act. Lady is especially vehement that family loyalty trumps all, but Lyndie is a bit lost as to when secrets should be kept and when it is best to reach out for help.

This is by far the best YA novel I have read in 2019 so far, and a wonderful take on the coming-of-age genre. The characters, the setting, the story are all fantastic and realistic in all the best ways. The topic of PTSD is treated fairly and realistically here, as is really the entire story; nothing felt like it was tossed in to fit a YA trope or expectation. This is a total MUST READ for middle readers, though I will note that the mature content might not make it suited for all upper elementary readers. Overall, I loved it and I'm raving about it to anyone who will listen at the moment.

Reviewer: TC

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