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Quaking by Kathryn Erskine


by Kathryn Erskine

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Foster child deals with both learning how to be in a Quaker family and how that can help her face the truths of her life. ( )
  Lylee | Apr 3, 2016 |
Two-dimensionality of villains aside, I enjoyed this. It’s a lovely exploration of the Quaker faith and how it comes to fill a hole in Matt that she didn’t want to believe she had. (Full review at http://www.parenthetical.net/2011/03/09/review-quaking-kathryn-erskine/) ( )
  SamMusher | Mar 30, 2013 |
Reviewed by Julie M. Prince for TeensReadToo.com

How can you not love a book that starts like this:

"Families come in all varieties but with no warranties. I have lived with first cousins twice removed, second cousins once removed, and now a third cousin who is removing herself. I call her Loopy. Because of her large earrings. And because she is insane.

Loopy drives like a ten-year-old car thief on a sugar high."

From the very beginning, Matt (not Mattie, and certainly not Matilda) has a chip on her shoulder. She's angry and cynical, and she has good reason to be. Loopy is about to dump her off at "the next hostile takeover."

"I finally found a second cousin of mine, but you need to make it work, Matt. This is the end of the line for you."

The end of the line is the home of Sam and Jessica Fox and their disabled foster son, the Blob. These aren't Matt's kind of people. For one thing, they're Quakers. They believe so strongly in peace that they don't even have the good sense to run and hide when bullies challenge them. They just stand there. That's what Sam calls it--taking a stand. As far as Matt can tell, it's just being plain stupid. Everyone knows you're supposed to run from bullies, and that's just what she intends to do if the Rat decides to make her the next Victim of bullying at her new school.

Kathryn Erskine never underestimates her readers as she allows this story to push the limits and tackle issues that most sweep under the rug when company is coming. I love Matt's sarcastic commentary on the state of the world as she faces the challenge of her own life. There is no doubt that this character is strong and capable--much like the writer who created her.

This is a book I'll keep on my shelf and come back to again and again. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 12, 2009 |
Enjoyable read, a simple story well told. ( )
  lilythelibrarian | Aug 30, 2009 |
Matt - short for Matilda - has spent years bouncing from one distant relative to the next. She expects her time with Sam and Matt to be more of the same. However, she is surprised to discover that her new family are Quakers, and that they seem to accept her as she is. Fearful, but intrigued by the message of love and peace that Sam and Matt share; her new found beliefs bring her into conflict with a pro-war teacher and a bully who uses the Iraq conflict as an excuse for violence.

I liked-not-loved this book. I thought it was an interesting approach to a topical subject, but felt that Erskine was trying to do too much. As a book about Matt or a book about violence against peace demonstrators, this book would have shined. As a mishmash of both, it felt muddled and rushed. (cross-posted from MeriJenBen) ( )
  59Square | Feb 20, 2009 |
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To Bill--thanks for being our Sam.
First words
Families come in all varieties but with no warranties.
In grade school, they tell you just to give the Beasts “I” messages:
I feel hurt when you kick me.
I do not like it when you tease me and make me cry.
I would appreciate it if you would stop shoving your fist into my ribs repeatedly.
By second grade, even the stupidest kids figure out that saying “I feel bad when you hurt me” only encourages the Beasts. The Beasts have their own “I” messages:
I feel great that I am hurting you.
I am happy that you are suffering.
I will continue terrorizing you, now that I know how succesful I truly am. 
“I” messages do not stop them from saying that you are ugly. Or stupid. Or that they are bigger and stronger than you and they will get you somewhere, sometime, no matter what.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399247742, Hardcover)

Don?t call her Matilda. Her name is Matt. And don?t even think about getting close to her. She doesn?t need anyone. Can?t you tell by looking at her, dressed all in black with a spider painted on her face and her ice-cold stare? But most of all, do not bully her. She has been through it all already.

But everything changes for fourteen-year-old Matt when she moves in with peaceful Quakers Sam and Jessica Fox, who are active in the movement against the war in the Middle East. Soon, conflict arises in town over the war, and suddenly, no one is safe. Matt fears for her safety and the safety of her new family. Could the boy who terrorizes her at school be behind it all? And how can she save the family she is actually growing to love when her fear always leaves her quaking?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:43 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In a Pennsylvania town where anti-war sentiments are treated with contempt and violence, Matt, a fourteen-year-old girl living with a Quaker family, deals with the demons of her past as she battles bullies of the present, eventually learning to trust in others as well as herself.… (more)

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