Lynn E. Hazen completed her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College, where she won the Houghton Mifflin Award for Shifty . She also has an M.A. in Education, and a B.S. in Applied Behavioral Sciences. Her second children's book is a picture book, Buzz Bumble to the Rescue . Lynn lives with her family in Northern California. Inspiration often comes from her own children as well as the exuberant children she encounters in her job as a preschool director.
Gr 6-9-Soli, nicknamed "Shifty" for his ability to talk his way out of problems, has had a hard life filled with transition homes and foster families. He's happy to have landed at Martha's house with seven-year-old Sissy and baby Chance. However, while the woman genuinely cares about her foster children, she neglects simple tasks like buying food and relies on Soli to run errands and look after Sissy. Though he's only 15, Soli has shown Martha a fake learner's permit, so she allows him to drive her van; he occasionally uses it without her knowledge, leading to run-ins with police and a near towing. When Martha is unexpectedly hospitalized overnight, Soli is left in charge. Sissy's friend Darlene insists on coming over, which leads to a web of lies and trouble from Darlene's parents. Soli must also deal with the new social worker, who is looking to cite Martha on any infraction. Thinking on his feet, he manages to save her from getting into trouble. Though they must say goodbye to Chance, who is going to a permanent home, Martha is determined to get her act together and adopt Soli and Sissy. The novel's San Francisco setting is clearly delineated, but the ending is too clean, with hardly any consequences for Soli's or Martha's actions, a seemingly unrealistic outcome. Still, the characters have warmth, and readers will feel empathy for this makeshift family.-Nichole King, Morgan Hill Library, CA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
This novel will appeal to many young readers but will have special meaning for those who know what it is to be unwanted and are searching for a place to call home. || A light hearted fast-paced book. It is full of warmth and humour and deserves its selection as a Smithsonian Notable Book. || This witty, rollicking American import leaves readers which much to think about.