Tom Bender is a typical seventh grader. His days are filled dreaming about cars and girls and heroic adventures. Normal. The way he likes things. When Jessica Feeney arrives one month after school starts, things change. Almost immediately Tom finds himself thinking about things that never occurred to him, and looking at people in different ways. 

BTSYA / Teen Reader:
I liked Tom's decision at the end of the book. It showed me that he was willing to give up a very exciting event for something more important. This book takes your mind into a whole new world. Sometimes you might not even hear your mom yelling, “DINNER TIME!” I didn’t like how the author described Jessica’s face. I lost my appetite. I think this book is most suitable for kids from ages 10-11. I would suggest someone get it from the library because this book does not have a lot of adventure and super exciting events. You would buy a book as a gift if it has super, extraordinary events. If you feel like one of the characters in the book, you should buy the book.

Parent Perspective:
When you pick up this book, be prepared to read it from cover to cover. The story and characters are compelling. If you remember anything about seventh grade, you'll see yourself (and maybe some of your classmates) "way back when." It makes you long for a sequel to see what happens a couple years down the road.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

The story is realistic, uncomfortable in spots, and wholly compassionate and gentle. This is a must-read for pre-teens about to enter middle school, as it is a more mature story to remind them of acceptance. The author’s style of writing is pretty interesting. He writes very descriptively. Our teen reviewer adds, "I have learned a lot from this book. I learned not to judge someone from the outside but from the inside."

Content Awareness Factors:


Type of Book:
This is a middle-grade novel about tolerance, acceptance, and compassion.
Educational Themes:

You can enjoy and explore this story on many levels. It can be as simple as life in seventh grade, change, and friendship, or you can plumb the depths of family dynamics, compassion and understanding, and understanding victims.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
10 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
9 to 13
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy! The book is short but its impact is everlasting. It is a realistic snapshot of life for a seventh grader, his friends, and a young girl who is dealing with personal tragedy and trying to fit in.

Title Firegirl
Author Tony Abbott
Publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers © 2008
Illustrators Tracy Shaw
ISBN 0316011711
Material Hard Cover
Cost $15.99
Genres Friendship, Life Lessons
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