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Hummingbird Heart
By author: Robin Stevenson
Selling Points: Organ donation, family, trust
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Apr/01/2012
Pages: 280
Fiction Ages 12+
Price:  $12.95
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Mark pulled out his phone. "Her name's Casey. She's almost four." He looked at the image on the screen for a long moment, his mouth twisted into a crooked smile. "Your half sister."
    I took the phone from him and stared at the photo. A round-faced girl, smiling, with short dark hair and big eyes. My stomach was full of something much squirmier than butterflies, and my throat was getting all tight.
    "Must be hard to be away from her," Mom said.
    "It is," Mark said. His voice sounded funny, like he really meant it. Like he could hardly stand to be away from his precious little girl.
    I sucked on my bottom lip. He'd been away from me, his other daughter, for my whole life and he hadn't cared at all.

Sixteen-year-old Dylan has never met her father. She knows that her parents were just teenagers themselves when she was born, but her mother doesn't like to talk about the past, and her father, Mark, has never responded to Dylan's attempts to contact him. As far as Dylan is concerned, her family is made up of her mother, Amanda; her recently adopted younger sister, Karma; and maybe even her best friend, Toni.

And then, out of the blue, a phone call: Mark will be in town for a few days and he wants to meet her. Amanda is clearly upset, but Dylan can't help being excited at the possibility of finally getting to know her father. But when she finds out why he has come—and what he wants from her—the answers fill her with still more questions. What makes someone family? And why has her mother been lying to her all these years?
Tri State YA Book Review Committee - September 1, 2012
"A very valuable book because of the author's honesty in portraying the teen dynamics with friends and families...Highly recommended for inclusion in any high school or public library collection."
CanLit for Little Canadians blog - July 25, 2012
"Stevenson takes Hummingbird Heart from just a mirror of a young girl's attempt to understand others as well as herself to a piece of artwork, extensive and colourful, deep and enduring, of choices, wonderful or humiliating, like a tattoo, hummingbird or otherwise."
Southwest Ohio and Neighboring Libraries (SWON) - July 3, 2012
"Stevenson captures the true spirit of Dylan's anger toward both her mother and her father, and the situation in which both parents have placed her...While the issues breeched in this novel are complex and deep, Hummingbird Heart remains an enjoyable read."
VOYA - June 1, 2012
"Fast-paced and sure to keep readers interested...A perfect book for discussion and the topic will appeal to teen readers."
Booklist - May 15, 2012
"The tension this creates between Dylan and her mother is brutal and realistic. Like many teens, Dylan has found emotional safety in keeping distant from others, judging before she can be judged. As Dylan comes out of her shell, she realizes her own power and responsibility in setting the terms of her relationships...Teens who were intrigued with the family drama in Sara Zarr's How to Save a Life (2011) or Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper (2004) will find similarly thought-provoking issues here."
School Library Journal - May 1, 2012
"Vividly descriptive language enriches the story...[and] a raw and honest tone runs through the novel...Teens will relate to the themes of family, love, trust, and moral obligation. Discussion of abortion, sex, teen pregnancy, alcoholism, underage drinking, and smoking marijuana are included, and under the surface this page-turner invites readers to reflect on decision-making and appreciate the fact that actions have deep consequences."
Resource Links - April 1, 2012
"A beautifully told story...Dylan is not a perfect character, which makes her easily relatable for any teenager...Recommended for anyone who likes a good dramatic coming of age story."
CM Magazine - March 2, 2012
"A well-written exploration of complex family relationships...Hummingbird Heart will appeal to teenagers who like realistic drama, and the novel may be useful to parents or teachers who want to start a discussion about teenage sex, pregnancy or drug use."
A Gemini's Gems blog - February 29, 2012
"A well-written story about a teenager being forced to confront questions about her past, her family, her relationships and her very identity. Dylan is a well-developed, realistic character and teens will be able to relate to her dilemma. Highly recommended."


Junior Library Guild Selection, commended  US  2012
Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year, commended  US  2013

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