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The Key to the Golden Firebird (2004)

by Maureen Johnson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5031649,066 (3.87)9
As three teenaged sisters struggle to cope with their father's sudden death, they find they must reexamine friendships, lifelong dreams, and their relationships with each other and their father.
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» See also 9 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
I love just about everything Maureen Johnson has written her characters are great and I love her stories. Her series tend to be quite different from each other but they are all good in their own right. Maureen Johnson is not only a great writer but she is also amazing on Twitter I highly recommend following her. ( )
  KateKat11 | Sep 24, 2021 |
Review originally posted at Dangerously Cold Tea

I've been looking forward to reading one of Maureen Johnson since I started following her on Twitter, greatly enjoying reading her hilarious tweets. To my delight, I found that she has brought her humor into her writing, tempered tastefully by the drama of the scenario and the emotions of the main cast as they struggle to deal with their grief over their father's death. The girls' connection with their deceased father grows more apparent as the book commences and further highlights how his death has greatly shaken up the everyday lives of a once-close family. It is at turns serious and humorous, never so lighthearted that the drama feels fake and never so depressing that the mood grows too heavy to endure.

The three girls - Brooks, Mayzie, and Palmer - each deal with the death in their own ways: Brooks drinks; Palmer retreats into herself; Mayzie focuses on her work to keep the family together. Other authors, in an attempt to show the different ways of dealing with a lost loved one, usually goes to extremes to show how characters have changed and in the process destroy any chance of emphasizing with them (why hello there, Alice Hoffman's The Story Sisters) - but Johnson does not fall into this trap; her three protagonists fell realistic in their responses and eventually readers will truly feel empathy for all three girls as they see the different turns and twists in the story through the girls' own eyes.

Overall, The Key to the Golden Firebird is a heartfelt read about the importance of family bonds in the face of tragedy. Each character is illustrated through Johnson's writing and come off the page as three-dimensional and not flat at all. As an introduction into Maureen Johnson's writing, I am very excited to read more of her works - especially if they are as spirited and interesting as this one was. ( )
  sarahlh | Mar 6, 2021 |
Maureen has been one of my favorite contemporary authors since I first read 13 Little Blue Envelopes several years ago. The reason i even found out about her was because of her friendship with John Green and her participation as "Secret Sister Maureen" in the original Brotherhood 2.0 videos. I'm so glad for those videos because not only did they bring about an awesome community, they helped introduce me to two of my favorite writers.

This was, I believe, the second book of Maureen's I ever picked up, having found it on a YA table at the local Barnes & Noble. It's been sitting in my to-read pile ever since, so I figured it was about time I changed that.

One of the things I love about the relationships between the Gold sisters is, even with all the drama in their lives and the problems they are all facing, it doesn't devolve into sappy teen melodrama. Characters don't break down and scream at each other over the smallest slight. Emotions build rationally over the course of the novel. The reactions remain believable and never go over the top. This is the story of four women putting their lives back together after a massive family trauma and having no idea where to start.

I really enjoyed this one. ( )
  regularguy5mb | Mar 24, 2015 |
I borrowed this book from the library, and didn't like it. ( )
  stephanie.dicesare.7 | Jun 25, 2014 |
I borrowed this book from the library, and didn't like it. ( )
  stephanie.dicesare.7 | Jun 25, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Maureen Johnsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Shen, AnnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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As three teenaged sisters struggle to cope with their father's sudden death, they find they must reexamine friendships, lifelong dreams, and their relationships with each other and their father.

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