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Water Street by Patricia Reilly Giff
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Water Street

by Patricia Reilly Giff

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Title: Water Street

Author: Patricia Reilly Giff

Genre: Young Adult

Challenges: 101 Books in 1001 Days Challenge, Book Around the States Challenge, A to Z Reading Challenge, 2009 Support Your Local Library, 2009 Audiobook Challenge, 20 Books in 2009, Pages Read Challenge, 2009 YA Challenge, 100 Reading Challenge – 2009, Summer Vacation Reading Challenge 2009,

Rating: 5/5

No. of Pages: Audio (176)

Published: 2006

From the back: Brooklyn, 1875. Bird Mallon lives on Water Street, where you can see the great towers of the Brooklyn Bridge being built.
Bird wants nothing more in life than to be brave enough to be a healer, like her mother, Nory; to help her sister Annie find love; and to convince her brother, Hughie, to stop fighting for money with his street gang. And of course, she wishes that a girl would move into the empty apartment upstairs so that she could have a friend close by.
But Thomas Neary and his father move in upstairs. Thomas, who writes about his life in his journal – about Pop, who spends each night at a bar; about the mother he wishes he had; and about the Mallon family downstairs, which he desperately wants to be part of. Thomas, who has a secret that only Bird suspects, and who turns out to be the best friend she could ever have.

Mine: What a wonderful period story and the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. It must have been such an exciting time to watch the bridge being built. The times were so different and what was expected. It tells the story of 2 children who become friends and protect each other from the evils of what may be.

What a nice way to hear about how the city was buzzing about the new bridge and how it affected all the levels of the city. Nory the midwife and healer, Annie the box maker and a wonderful baker, Hughie here brother becomes hard after getting the bends after going down in the water to help with the bridge.

( )
  suefitz1 | Apr 3, 2013 |
I love this book and the two books that preceded it in the series. Although I don't think the plot was as exciting as the first book, Nory Ryan's Song, I do feel I got to know the characters well. Patricia Reilly Giff is great at creating complex and believable characters. I hope she writes another book about Bird and Thomas and their children. ( )
  KingK | Nov 18, 2010 |
The year is 1875 and the Brooklyn Bridge is under construction. To many, this bridge is a symbol of greatness and ingenuity. This sense of hope and aspiration echoes in the background as the book examines the lives of two Irish American families.

Bridget Mallon, called Bird, is about to enter her last year of school and struggles to find her place in the world. She wants to follow in her mother's footsteps as a healer but there are many difficult challenges on that path and Bird is not quite sure if she's cut out for the task. Bird worries about her family and determines to make things better for all of them. Her sister Annie, still unmarried, has few prospects for romance. Hughie, Bird's older brother, engages in illegal back street fighting with crippling results. Nory and Sean, Bird's parents, strive to make ends meet to provide a good and loving home for their family.

Thomas Neary is Bird's new friend who just moved into the upstairs apartment with his father, an alcoholic, who spends most of his time at the local pub. Thomas doesn't even know his mother and wonders if he ever will. He spends most of his time with Bird's family and keeps a journal full of stories he has created about the people and the places that surround him. Thomas' steadfast devotion to Bird's family encourages Bird to keep striving for better things.

Even in their world of frustration there is that ray of hope and expectation as Bird and Thomas watch the progress of the looming towers of the Brooklyn Bridge and reflect on the possibilities of the future.

This book challenges the reader to explore the history of the time and the plight of being an immigrant in America. Giff allows the reader to step into the heart and soul of Bird and Thomas and discover what it means to be called a friend and a family. ( )
  SueDLeatherman | May 16, 2010 |
I initially thought I would enjoy this book a lot. From the cover and the description, I thought it would be about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. The first couple of pages also revealed that the main characters were Irish-American immigrants, which was appealing to me (as that is part of my family background). However, in the end, the bridge-building and the immigrant status are really just background noise and don’t contribute a whole lot to the story. The story is essentially about family, friendship, and finding your career path. None of these are bad qualities, but there’s nothing particular new or exciting about them, especially the way this book is written. I had a hard time getting through this book, despite its short length. Something about the language and/or the pacing made the book hard to digest for me, and I find it hard to see how this book would be appealing to children. Not only is the writing style a barrier, but the career choices subtheme doesn’t really resonate with most children (it’s more of a YA theme). Overall, I was disappointed with the book and would recommend other titles with similar subthemes over this one. However, on the plus side, having both a female and a male protagonist should help make this book appealing to both boys and girls. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Mar 8, 2010 |
Patricia Reilly Giff is one of my favorite authors for young people. This is another story set in an historical setting, against the backdrop of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, and how it touches the lives of the characters. Bird and Thomas are two well written eighth graders who are already deciding what to do with their lives and the story weaves them together with a great cast of supporting characters. ( )
  eliorajoy | May 30, 2009 |
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Thomas had made himself a notebook with cardboard covers and sewed in the pages, but if the book wasn't handy, he used anything, paper bags from the market, or even the edges of the newspaper.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440419212, Paperback)

Brooklyn, 1875: Bird Mallon lives on Water Street where you can see the huge towers of the bridge to Manhattan being built. Bird wants nothing more in life than to be brave enough to be a healer, like her mother, Nory, to help her sister Annie find love, and to convince her brother, Hughie, to stop fighting for money with his street gang. And of course, she wishes that a girl would move into the empty apartment upstairs so that she can have a new friend close by.

But Thomas Neary and his Pop move in upstairs. Thomas who writes about his life in his journal--his father who spends each night at the Tavern down the street, the mother he wishes he had, and the Mallon family downstairs that he desperately wants to be a part of. Thomas, who has a secret that only Bird suspects, and who turns out to be the best friend Bird could ever have.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:03 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In the shadow of the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, eighth-graders and new neighbors Bird Mallon and Thomas Neary make some decisions about what they want to do with their lives.

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