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And what's more, I never would have truly known it was historical fiction without the author's note. Good historical fiction can View all 5 comments. Nov 25, Kyle rated it it was amazing Shelves: I was forced to take a moment and catch my breath after I closed this book. I needed to gather myself, order my thoughts, and reflect on everything I had just read. The best part about it? I will still need to do so for a long time to come. I can already predict the amount of "staying power" this book will have upon my mind, and the thought makes me smile.

I will be able to categorize every YA book, from here on out, into two categories: This novel has become the fulcrum upon which my experience with YA novels has pivoted. Phillip Pullman once said paraphrasing from my shoddy memory that some topics, some issues, and some themes are just too large and complicated to deal with in an adult novel; they can only be handled properly when they are in a children's book.

I never really understood what he meant, and to me at the time it seemed like an attempt to over-aggrandise the type of work he did. That was, until I read this book. Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy has all the traditional and expected elements of a classic YA novel: It has all the checklist elements needed in order to "pass" the "good" YA test. Intertwined with all of the story are continuous layers and messages, there to be teased and plucked out if the reader so desires.

Diffused throughout the entire book, the language of the story is stitched together with a beautiful descriptive needle. The beauty and playfulness of the descriptive passages is very Robert McCammon-ish, and adds a sophistication to the novel that I have never experienced with YA books before.

This book does not treat its readers like children, it treats them as exactly what they are, Adults who are young. Adults who can deal with heartache, pain, struggle, and still see the bright side of things. Adults who, though young, are searching for the answers of how everything and everyone should fit in the world.

This novel is a prime example of what is possible when a writer does not underestimate their readers, and I genuinely hope everyone will enjoy this novel as much as I did. Nov 21, Tracy rated it it was ok. The book tries to teach a message, but it takes so long in getting there that its a little bit anti-climatic once it does come. This was such a good book. I recommend it to adults as well as tweens and teens. This was an incredibly written, heartbreaking tale. I absolutely loved it. I listened to it on CD while traveling, and so many times I wanted to pull my car over, rewind, and write down a quote from the book.

The writing was just amazing. What more can I say. I thought maybe Orbiting Jupiter was his most tragic book In terms of sadness and tragedy, this one throws that one out of the water. And I was not expecting that. I thought going in that it was going to be a sweet story of a summertime friendship taking place at the turn of the century - and it is in part, but if that's how I were to actually describe the book to someone Because it's no Oh boy. Because it's not actually very sweet.

Lizzie and Turner do have a sweet friendship, but it's one where everything swirling around it is full of pain and strife and hardship and turmoil. I don't have any idea why I thought that this book would be without any of those harder themes; Gary Schmidt always deals with turmoil of some sort in his books. They always feel real. Not that that's a bad thing. It was brilliant in every respect. The book isn't long but it packs a huge punch and it is so beautifully written - as I've come to expect from Gary. Of course, there's always a silver lining, so I don't want to give the impression that it's all sadness.

But ultimately, I was left broken-hearted. Oct 23, Isha R rated it did not like it. A lot of repetition and slow paced plot events. Too much confusing whale metaphors. It was overall boring and it just wasn't intriguing. It was the book that did not really pull you in and you just wanted to abandon it. If you are looking for a historical fiction book, don't read this one. I would give it one star.

Jul 05, Davis rated it did not like it Shelves: I feel snobbish for giving this book such a low rating. Let's just say that this is probably the best 1-star book I will ever rate. It's got wonderful wit, great writing, real characters, numbing poignancy… I could just go on and on. At one moment, I actually wanted to scream out loud and let the tears flow because I wasn't sure how much more of the poignancy and getting angry at fictional characters I could take.

But here's my quibble. Why in the world did Schmidt feel the need to introduce the I feel snobbish for giving this book such a low rating. Why in the world did Schmidt feel the need to introduce the Darwin subplots? And the ending where the author goes on about how creatures in their evolved form are sad when they're separated, I thought, "if we're just mistakes and worthless freaks of nature that happened to evolve, what basis do we have for sadness and why do we feel it if we're just like every other animal?

But besides that, there's isn't much… anything, in fact, to complain about. A very, very good book that could have been a gem if not for that element. Oh yes, and the first Printz book I've ever read. Not that I'm expecting to read a terrible lot more of them, but just thought I'd point that out. View all 6 comments.

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy Book Review

Jul 09, Emily rated it it was amazing Shelves: Schmidt-how do I love thee, let me count the ways. Wonderful insight into boys who really try to be good. Even better in this book with all of poor Turners mishaps 2. His love of the arts and the influence they can have for good in lives both young and old 3. Connection with nature 4. Constant exploration of how the young are the ones who are still innocent enough to try harder, especially with treating people right.

Belief in the innate goodness of most people, even if it takes most Oh Gary D. Belief in the innate goodness of most people, even if it takes most longer to get there. Turning tragedy into beauty. This is based on historical events where an entire people were kicked off their home island off the state of Maine in the early 's. Saddest of the Schmidt books I've read but just as wonderful. I'm sorry to say I didn't like this book at all. It wasn't terrible, I just found it terribly boring. I actually fell asleep twice while reading it, and almost fell asleep a bunch more times throughout.

I think it's just Gary Schmidt's writing style. I've never been very fond of overly descriptive narration. At least half of this book is just description, and most of it not essential description, or at least it felt like it to me. I also didn't like the ending. I understand that this book was ba I'm sorry to say I didn't like this book at all. I understand that this book was based on actual events, but I've never liked books where, in the end, nothing's changed. And nothing Turner or his father did made a difference at all, which is what really irritates me. Sure, it's a great coming-of-age story, but all it really does is illustrate that sometimes life really stinks, and doing the right thing can sometimes just make life stink even more.

It's not much of a positive idea to leave impressionable young adults with. Plus, this book reads like a lot of the "great books of literature" I had to read in high school, which I don't think will encourage many young adults to voluntarily pick this book up on their own.

What redeems this book is the relationship between Lizzie and Turner. Lizzie's character is so sassy and refreshing, and I love how these two kids interact with each other. But there is far too little of these interactions in the book to make it worth reading again, at least for me. Warnings on a scale of May 16, Lars Guthrie rated it it was amazing. Here he goes back to , just as successfully. But calling 'Lizzie Bright' an historical novel, though it is based on real events, is too limiting. Like 'Wednesday Wars,' it's about a boy growing up and beyond his father, helped along by a spunky girl and some wise women.

Unlike that book, though, it's not completely about finding happy endings. The town of Phippsburg, Maine, did evict the black settlers of neighboring Malaga Island, and placed a number of them in the Draconian Home for the Feeble Minded, where they soon perished. Schmidt doesn't sugarcoat any of that, but still manages to leave the reader with a bit of hope. And as in 'Wednesday Wars,' to paint vivid characters and to ask essential questions about life. Stonecrop is the most marvelous of villains, and Lizzie is going to stick in my mind for a long time.

Also like 'Wednesday Wars,' 'Lizzie Bright' is about a kid being forced to read pretty high-level material--in this case, the 'Aeneid'--and finding out he likes it. That was especially satisfying for me, since I just read the 'Aeneid' for the first time, and thought it was a story which could appeal to children. I'm becoming a Gary Schmidt fan.

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Feb 23, Allyson Faith rated it it was amazing. This is a young adult novel that I've been hearing about for the last year. It is remarkable, and I now wish I'd read it earlier. I want everyone I know to read it --it's that good. It's set in in a small town in Maine. The main character is the teenage son of a minister who has a new job in this town--so this boy, Turner, his father and mother move from Boston to Maine.

Turner doesn't hit it off with the local boys, but one day when beachcombing he meets Lizzie Bright--one of the young Afr This is a young adult novel that I've been hearing about for the last year.

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy

Turner doesn't hit it off with the local boys, but one day when beachcombing he meets Lizzie Bright--one of the young African Americans who live on the nearby Malaga Island. She is a magical character, and Turner is pretty wonderful himself. The novel is based on a true story --how this main townspeople of Phippsburg wanted to turn the island into a tourist area and what they did to claim the land from the African Americans who had lived there for generations.

It's a heart-breaking, enraging story --but the friendship between Turner and Lizzie, and the story of Turner's coming-of-age is deeply touching. This novel is also beautifully written, and nature becomes as much a character as do the humans. There are parts that are laugh-out-loud Mrs. Cobb's real last words come to mind , but I needed tissues by the end--not just because some of it is so sad but also because of how nature and Turner connect. I loved this book. Apr 28, C. O'B rated it really liked it. Although this book had a slow start at the beginning, the last couple of meetings we had really hooked me in, and this book deserved at least a three or four star rating in my opinion.

I enjoyed the lot's of action towards the end, and I liked the descriptive language author Gary D. Shmidt used in the text. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction. May 01, Linda Hart rated it it was amazing. I loved everything about this book and have added Gary D.

Smith to my favorite authors list. This is coming-of-age historical fiction at is best, with gorgeous lyrical writing and heart-wrenching emotional reactions. The various themes and conflicts are delicately and deftly presented and handled. Schmidt not only has a remarkable way with words, but his characters almost seem to leap from his book because they are so real.

A compelling and powerful read, it will stay with me long after I closed I loved everything about this book and have added Gary D. A compelling and powerful read, it will stay with me long after I closed the cover. This book is beautiful, and just when I thought I had it completely figured out, it surprised me.

Based on a real place and real people. The author just gave a name to some of the people and created a character based on vague details of a person. There are Biblical references and allegories throughout that make this book a good one to discuss. If I were an elementary teacher I would read it to my class. I love the simple artistry of this book. It has all the elements that I love in a good book: Here is a sampling of the poetic language Schmidt used to weave this tale of deep sorrow and deep friendship The world turns and the world spins, the tide runs in and the time runs out, and there is nothing in the world more beautiful and more wonderful in all its evolved forms than two souls who look at each other straight I love the simple artistry of this book.

The world turns and the world spins, the tide runs in and the time runs out, and there is nothing in the world more beautiful and more wonderful in all its evolved forms than two souls who look at each other straight on. And there is nothing more woeful and soul-saddening than when they are parted. If you want to read a beautiful story that doesn't turn its head at the ugliness of human nature, then pick up Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy.

Oct 24, Kerry rated it really liked it Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. We are reading separately. I'm anxious to discuss it with him and with the larger group. Beautiful writing, heartbreaking and beautiful story. I'm interested in how his soft heart will take the ending. Mar 12, Emma Miss Print rated it it was amazing. Turner Buckminster has lived in Phippsburg, Maine for almost six whole hours. He has dipped his hands in its waves, smelled the sharp scent of its pine trees. He has looked out at the sea.

Turner has even seen the clapboard parsonage beside the church his father will minister now that they are no longer in Boston and the small house beyond whose function he could not yet fathom and soon enough would not believe. Six whole hours in Maine. He didn't know how much longer he could stand it. After a d Turner Buckminster has lived in Phippsburg, Maine for almost six whole hours. After a dismal arrival, a disastrous baseball game and one too many reminders that he is, in fact, a minister's son, Turner is just about ready to light out for the territories. Surely, life out west would be better.

It would certainly be simpler with no need to remember his manners and always wear those darned starched white shirts that simply do not work in the summer heat. At least Turner has the sea breeze to keep him company. Being a sneaky, playful breeze it soon leads Turner to Malaga Island and his first friend in Maine. Lizzie Bright Griffin is Turner's opposite in almost every way.

She has lived on Malaga all her life, just like her parents and her granddaddy. A community founded by former slaves, Malaga is a poor island and largely seen as a blemish on the landscape by Phippsburg's elite. But to Lizzie it is the most wonderful place in the world. Turner and Lizzie have every reason to hate each other. Instead they become fast friends. Soon enough Turner can't imagine his life without knowing Lizzie or Malaga.

Meanwhile, change is coming. Phippsburg is plotting to force the islander's off Malaga to pave the way for a lucrative tourist industry that will lead Phippsburg into the future.


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The change seems inevitable. Still Turner feels he and Lizzie have to try and fight this horrible injustice. This story is based on the real life destruction of Malaga island in and spoiler alert, insofar as a real event can be considered a spoiler the island is not saved. Schmidt has created a stunning novel about a real story that is shocking but also needs to be told and remembered. The writing here is charming and surprisingly appealing given the narrow focus of the narrative. Biblical references Turner acquired from his minister's-son-upbringing are interwoven seamlessly in a way that works even if the source behind the references is not always clear to readers with a different knowledge set.

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Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy is also the only book I know of that is both a Newbery and Printz award honor book both honors received in It's kind of as amazing as Sandra Bullock's recent awards sweep winning the Golden Globe for best actress in a comedy and a drama and winning the Oscar for best actress besides. It's just really rare and a real sign of overall awesomeness for a book written for young people. Despite a very clearly defined plot as is the way when a story is based on real events , this book is not easy to make sense of just based on a blurb or the cover, more on those in a minute.

That's because Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy is a very subtle, smart book. It really needs to be read before you can fully appreciate its magic. Phippsburg and its inhabitants are fully realized as characters.

Even the sea breeze has its own special place as a character of sorts moving the story along. Some historical novels relate detailed accounts of real events. Schmidt does that to an extent here, but even better is the full immersion of this story. You don't read this one, you live it. A detailed author's note at the end of the book also details the real story that inspired this fictional one.

Now a bit more about those covers. The middle one here, the one with the primitive style artwork, was the original cover. Finally in the book was reprinted again I believe by Powell as a mass market paperback which can be seen in the last image here, the smallest one that is predominantly yellow hued in the background. I might be wrong here, but my suspicion is that the book was repackaged to try and make it more appealing to young readers since its honors already made it clear that the book had literary appeal.

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Today I'm a Monster. Great way to say your kid that anger, sadness and other difficult feelings are ok. A must-read for parents and teachers - introducing readers young and old to the power of developing and embracing a growth mindset. Terry Treetop and the lost egg: Join Terry Treetop for another adventure. Adorable rhyming and 18 beautiful colorful illustrations that children simply love.

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Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Is this feature helpful? Thank you for your feedback. Read reviews that mention lizzie bright buckminster boy malaga island bright and the buckminster gary schmidt turner buckminster well written mrs cobb minister son bright griffin phippsburg maine sea breeze historical fiction wednesday wars coming of age meets lizzie kill a mockingbird new minister even though young adults. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. I've read some of the other reviews, and I can see where some of them thought this was boring.

But I think a lot of them are reading with a different purpose. If you open your heart, Gary Schmidt's books will fill it up to bursting. Give yourself a chance, and you'll connect with the characters, and despise the scoundrels. Perhaps the most moving aspect of the book, though, is the fact that it's based on a true story. And the themes are just as relevant today. Looking for a happy ending? It's in there, but you have to endure a lot of Turner's pain along the way. The characters are the hook, and I loved reading this book.

Here is a little gem of a book for young adults and older ones too.

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy (by Gary D. Schmidt)

Schmidt has crafted an ingenious account of a shameful incident in Maine history, the forced removal of impoverished people of color from a small but desirable island called Malaga in Maine. Told from the viewpoint of young Turner Buckminster and interlaced with ethereal descriptions of how the land, sea, and seasons inform the souls of malleable minds, Schmidt weaves a fabric of suspense, shame, young love, bigotry, and the lure of dollar signs can destroy all that is good.

Surprises abound, plot twists jar the reader, and the courage of youth carry the story to its surprise ending. This one is a keeper. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. This book 'found me and twisted around me like a cat asking for a bowl of milk' - to borrow from the book. It played with me and drew me in until I would have to 'pause and quiver' at the sheer beauty of it.

It toyed with me, 'scooting around me and pulling at my ears. It threw up the dust off the road into my face, to turn me around, and when I leaned into it, it suddenly let go and pushed at me from behind, laughing. Because, every time I thought I knew where it was going, and was about to sigh, 'it struck me with something about as expected as a megalosaurus lumbering up Parker Head.

He feels 'exiled by fate from a place he loved' and is further exiled as the story progresses.


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  • He finds that everything is different, including things he has taken for granted, like the way a baseball is thrown, and swimming. Turner is about 13 years old, and the book is a journey through the storms and tribulations of adolescence, of recognising frailties in parents, and self, of having to find a moral code of your own, and most importantly that establishment of relationships outside the family circle that may force you into taking a stand against your family.

    The weather is a driving force in the telling of this story. There is the veneer of religion but the real greater force is nature. There are people who understand the weather and the tides, and those who don't. Some of the strongest images in the book, the most telling about character, use weather: Lizzie leaves after talking with Turner, and 'The sea breeze came down from the leaves and followed at her heels, jumping up now and again and frisking all around.

    Then it tipped up into the sky and spread out, looking for a maple it could scorch or a beech it could blanch. It found the maple and went about its business, so that if Turner looked out his front doo, he might have seen the maple just past First Congregational shiver some and then coldly begin to burn into reds. There wasn't a sea breeze anywhere near him, and if there had been one, it would have been trampled into the dust of Parker Head until it wasn't anything but a puff or two. I love the way that Gary Schmidt draws upon the great classics of storytelling - Shakespeare in the Wednesday Wars, and The Aeinid and the eternal theme of conflict in this.

    He makes them real, and gives them a currency for readers of today. This book lingers for a long time, and like great food, has a compelling after taste. I'm still trying to sort out all of the flavours. One person found this helpful 2 people found this helpful. Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase. Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy is a captivating work of historical fiction and is deserving of its Newbery Honor and Printz Honor.

    The story has two central characters that many young adults will be able to relate to.