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|Girls like us|
Author: Giles, Gail
Graduating from their school's special education program, Quincy and Biddy are placed together in their first independent apartment and discover unexpected things they have in common in the face of past challenges and a harrowing trauma.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 4.00
Points: 5.0 Quiz: 166181
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 9-12
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 63698
Kirkus Reviews (04/15/14)
School Library Journal (+) (00/06/14)
Booklist (+) (05/01/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (00/06/14)
The Hornbook (00/05/14)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 05/01/2014 *Starred Review* In compelling, engaging, and raw voices, 18-year-olds Biddy and Quincy, newly independent, intellectually disabled high-school graduates, narrate their growing friendship and uneasy transition into a life of jobs, real world apartments, and facing cruel prejudice. Obese and illiterate Biddy has more emotional intelligence than Quincy, whose normal brain development was shattered when her mother’s boyfriend hit her with a brick when she was six. Biddy’s limited cognitive capacities spring from oxygen deprivation during birth as well as lifelong deprivation of nurturing. Paired by a social service program, the girls are made roommates in a live-work placement where they share a small apartment at the home of a wealthy, sensitive, and supportive widow, Elizabeth. Biddy cleans and provides physical assistance for Elizabeth, while Quincy, who loves cooking, works at a market. Biddy and Quincy share deep secrets and narrate lives heartrendingly full of anger, abandonment, and abuse, including explicit, realistic descriptions of two rapes. But with the help of patient Elizabeth and the support they gain from each other, they are empowered to move forward with strength and independence. Giles (Dark Song, 2010) offers a sensitive and affecting story of two young women learning to thrive in spite of their hard circumstances. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 06/01/2014 Special Ed has been no picnic for classmates Biddy, who was born “moderately retarded,” and Quincy (short for Sequentia), who suffered a childhood brain injury at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend. Going out into the world doesn’t look like it’ll be any easier, but both girls are placed after graduation in the house of a local woman, Elizabeth, who needs home help as she deals with vertigo. There each girl begins to thrive in her own way, with warm-hearted Biddy blossoming under Elizabeth’s kind attention, and cynical Quincy relishing the respect she earns for her cooking skills and work ethic; they also grow closer, seeing past each other’s defenses. The narration alternates between Biddy and Quincy, with Biddy’s soft, eager credulity an effective complement to Quincy’s wry jadedness (“Leastwise,” says Quincy initially about living with Biddy, “if I live with her, I finally be the smartest person in the house”). The brief chapters allow plenty of time for thought on the part of the readers as they’re steeped into the daily challenges and thoughts of differently abled people. Ultimately, though, this tips too far into rescue fantasy territory, with everything in the girls’ world terrible until their move to Elizabeth’s allows them to suddenly blossom, and Quincy’s savage rape and mutilation merely one more thing for their new lives to redeem them from; a subplot about the baby Biddy gave up for adoption requires maximum contrivance at several steps. Intellectually disabled young people don’t receive a lot of attention in literature, though, especially when it comes to the difficult transition to adult living; readers with their own launch concerns may find this particularly rewarding. DS - Copyright 2014 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 06/01/2014 Gr 8 Up—Quincy and Biddie are "speddies" (special education students). They have just graduated high school and must live out in the world on their own. After being matched together by their teacher, they are given adult responsibilities: Quincy works at a supermarket while Biddie cooks and cleans for the older woman who is boarding them. The teens must learn how to fend for themselves in a world that is unfamiliar. They have both experienced physical, mental, and sexual violence, and must rely on each other to come out stronger than they were before. Girls Like Us is filled with genuine relationships that develop over time and feel authentic. There is humor and heart throughout, making the severity of the protagonists' situations more accessible to readers. A story line about Biddie's obsession with a family of ducks in their backyard is particularly poignant. The one- or two-page chapters alternate between Quincy and Biddie and are told in voices that are genuine to their experiences but never sensationalized. The frank discussions and depictions of the violence committed against them are shocking but never vulgar. Giles has constructed a unique, hard-hitting yet refreshing story with well-developed characters free from expected clichés or caricatures. A powerful novel that teens will enjoy wholeheartedly.—Christopher Lassen, Brooklyn Public Library - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.