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Fiction Ages 9-12
Pages: 160
Themes: Writing, family, orphans
Publisher: Second Story Press
Pub Date: 01/09/2009
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Growing up in the 1960s, Lee Mets knows that it's not easy for a girl to be anything she wants. But she won't let that stop her from her dream of being a writer. Lee's favorite story of all time is Anne of Green Gables, so Lee is thrilled when a real-life orphan, by the name of Cassandra, moves in across the street. A summer with Cassandra leads to the girls performing Lee's play for the whole neighborhood. It also leads Lee to realize that being an orphan is not as romantic as she had thought.

Sharon Jennings is an editor and award-winning author, having written over sixty books for young people. As a girl Sharon enjoyed writing plays, just like Lee. Although, unlike Lee, she always cast herself in the starring role. Sharon lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Canadian Children's Book Centre - July 15, 2010
"Home Free is a fantastic contribution to Canadian children’s literature…Jennings convincingly creates an authentic child’s point of view and perceptions in this dramatic coming-of-age narrative imbued with the power of language, words, and emotions."
Canadian Teacher Magazine - November 1, 2009
"An excellent exploration of the meaning of friendship."
NewPages.com - October 1, 2009
"Precocious and smart, a chatterbox, misunderstood by a lot of the adults in her life except a beloved teacher, Lee's a completely loveable character… A fun and engaging read from start to finish."
Canadian Children's Book News - August 1, 2009
"Jenning's writing is witty and brought many a smile to my face as I read this delightful novel...There are many themes both obvious and underlying...to be discussed with student readers and the issues are as relevant today as they were in the 1960s."
Children's Bookwatch - July 1, 2009
"The brand new 'Gutsy Girls' series from Canadian publisher Second Story Press promises to be lively, funny, engaging and original. Judging by the debut novel Home Free it will truly live up to that expectation!"
KidsWWwrite - July 1, 2009
"A brilliant story that is imaginative and cunning, with a clever storyline that twists and turns with emotion... Home Free is a thoroughly enjoyable book that had no bland or starchy parts that make you yawn, but instead a rollercoaster of a book that is filled with emotion."
CM Magazine - June 12, 2009
"Lee’s story will resonate with many young girls today. She shares her story in such an honest way that it’s easy to feel a rapport with her right from the start. The little thrill I would feel when reading a Judy Blume book returned when I read Home Free."
Quill & Quire - April 1, 2009
"This short, sharp story sets the bar high for its followers: it's subtle, wise, and energetic, an honest picture of childhood perceptions and the sort of nuanced fortitude it takes simply to mature."

Awards

Governor General's Literary Award - Children's Literature nominee  | 2009 | Short-listed
ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award nominee  | 2010 | Short-listed
CCBC Best Books starred selection  | 2010 | Commended
TD Children's Literature Award nominee  | 2010 | Short-listed
Silver Birch Award nominee  | 2011 | Short-listed
M.Y.R.C.A nominee  | 2011 | Short-listed

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