Skip to main content

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy is Gary Schmidt's much lauded novel that won not only a Newbery Honor, but a Printz Honor as well. It was published in 2004 coming before both The Wednesday Wars (my review) and Okay for Now (my review). It is unrelated to the other two in plot and setting, but very much similar in style and voice. Schmidt just excels at this type of story.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
It only takes a few hours for Turner Buckminster to start hating Phippsburg, Maine. No one in town will let him forget that he's a minister's son, even if he doesn't act like one. But then he meets Lizzie Bright Griffin, a smart and sassy girl from a poor nearby island community founded by former slaves. Despite his father's-and the town's-disapproval of their friendship, Turner spends time with Lizzie, and it opens up a whole new world to him, filled with the mystery and wonder of Maine's rocky coast. The two soon discover that the town elders, along with Turner's father, want to force the people to leave Lizzie's island so that Phippsburg can start a lucrative tourist trade there. Turner gets caught up in a spiral of disasters that alter his life-but also lead him to new levels of acceptance and maturity. This sensitively written historical novel, based on the true story of a community's destruction, highlights a unique friendship during a time of change. 

The story centers around an event that actually happened in  Maine history. What Schmidt did was come in and give the young girl found in the historical accounts a name, a personality, and a history. And he gave her a friend. Both Lizzie and Turner come to life as the story unfolds. You want them to be real. You want them to win. Even though you know the whole thing is heading toward the exact opposite. There's no other way it can go. I read this with a feeling of trepidation. I'm a girl who knows her history and there was no way this was ending in the manner of Schmidt's other books. But dang if Schmidt didn't still manage to bring in a thread of hope and redemption in the midst of what is a truly tragic story. This is why I love his books. This and the way Schmidt has with words. He creates real people with them, whole towns of them, your convinced have to actually have been there.

In this, as in all of his other books the writing speaks for itself. So here you go. If this doesn't make you want to know these people, nothing will:
"Lizzie Bright Griffin, do you ever wish the world would just go ahead and swallow you whole?"
"Sometimes I do," She said, and then smiled. "But sometimes I figure I should just go ahead and swallow it." And she held her arms out wide, as if she would gather it all in. And for a moment, Turner had no doubt that she could.

"This the boy never talked to a Negro before?"
Lizzie nodded. Tuner nodded, too. He thought Lizzie's grandfather must be older than Methuselah. He looked like a white-haired, fiery-eyed, God-haunted Old Testament prophet without the robes.
"How's he doing now?"
"Fair to middling."
"Fair to middling," her grandfather repeated. "Let's see, then. Boy, why don't you go ahead and say something?" 
Turner had no notion of what to say to an Old Testament prophet. He thought they were all dead.
"Maybe not quite middling." said Lizzie's granddaddy.
Turner opened his mouth and shut it agin.
"Maybe not quite fair..."

"I wonder," said Tuner slowly, "if it's only the folks on Malaga Island who can make you think what they want you to thin."
"So now you're impertinent too."
Turner stood and it suddenly seemed to him that his father was much smaller than he had been before. There simply wasn't as much of him as he remembered. 

"Turner," he said, "books can be fire, you know.."
"Fire. Books can ignite fires in your mind, because they carry ideas for kindling, and art for matches."



Popular posts from this blog

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by  The Broke and the Bookish  and now hosted at  That Artsy Reader Girl . This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List From Most Recent to Least: What books have recently caught your eye?

Favorite Kissing Scenes

When thinking of a favorite things post I could do for February I decided it would have to be kissing. I've already done couples and I was feeling in the mood to do something fluffy and Valentine's related. So kisses it is. I read more MG than YA, and the YA I read tends to not focus on romance so this was actually harder than I expected it to be though a few jumped into my head right away. (And one of my choices does actually come from a MG book. One is adult. Gasp!) The actual scene from the book is quoted followed by my thoughts. The king lifted a hand to her cheek and kissed her. It was not a kiss between strangers, not even a kiss between a bride and a groom. It was a kiss between a man and his wife, and when it was over, the king closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the hollow of the queen's shoulder, like a man seeking respite, like a man reaching home at the end of the day . - The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner Turner doesn't write the


Shadowshaper  by Daniel José Older is everywhere. Best of lists. Award buzz. Blogs everywhere. It's one of those books everyone is reading and talking about. I had it on my TBR but decided I definitely needed to read it before the year was out just so I could weigh in on one of the most talked about books of 2015 if asked. It is deserving of every good thing said about it. Every. One. Sierra was looking forward to a relaxing summer break. Her plans involved hanging out with her friends and painting. They did not involve being chased by zombie like creatures and threatened by a magical power connected to her family's heritage she has never heard of. When murals begin fading all over her Brooklyn neighborhood, Sierra is perplexed. When her grandfather, who had a stroke, begins to apologize and starts repeating strange phases and insisting Sierra get the help of a boy she barely knows to help her finish her mural, Sierra is concerned but mostly about her grandfather. Then at a

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Black Cloak  by Robert Beatty is a thrilling tale of mystery and adventure set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC in 1899. Having lived in Asheville and visited the house several times, there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to read this. (Also it's MG fantasy, always a bonus for me.) Serafina lives in secret in the basement of the Vanderbilt's spacious vacation home. She has lived there most of her life. Her father worked on the house as it was being built and is the mechanic who runs the massive generator and keeps the electricity going. Serafina is the chief rat catcher, slipping through the halls of her massive home secretly and quietly. She is light on her feet, sees well in the dark, and is quick enough to catch the vermin and keep them out. Serafina knows she if different and strange. Her father insists she stay hidden. But all that changes when one night Serafina witnesses a horrible crime. A little girl, a guest in the house, is fleein


On Tuesday I posted my Top Ten Books Read so Far in 2013 and promised to highlight more of this year's favorites and offer them in giveaways. This is the YA giveaway. This is open to anyone who lives where Book Depository ships for free . Book Choices: TO ENTER: Leave a comment below saying which book looks most interesting to you and leave a way I can reach you if you are the winner. (email address or twitter handle-If you are using Twitter it would be helpful if you followed me, @brandymuses , in case I need to DM you.) Entries after Monday, July 1 8:00 PM EST are invalid. The winner will be drawn as close to 8 as possible.  Yes, I still do my giveaways the old fashioned way.