by Shepherd, Gail

A one-of-a-kind voice lights up this witty, heartwarming debut set in 1985 Tennessee about the power of homespun wisdom (even when it's wrong), the clash between appearances and secrets, and the barriers to getting help even when it's needed most.

Lyndie B. Hawkins loves history, research, and getting to the truth no matter what. But when it comes to her family, her knowledge is full of holes. Like, what happened to her father in the Vietnam War? Where does he disappear to for days? And why exactly did they have to move in with her grandparents?

Determined to mold recalcitrant Lyndie into a nice Southern girl even if it kills her, her fusspot grandmother starts with lesson number one: Family=Loyalty=keeping quiet about family secrets. Especially when it comes to Lyndie's daddy.

Then DB, a boy from the local juvenile detention center comes to stay with Lyndie's best friend, Dawn. He's as friendly and open as a puppy. There to shape up his act, he has an optimism that's infectious. But it puts Lyndie in direct opposition to her grandmother who'd rather keep up appearances than get her son the help he needs.

Beyond the snappy voice that lights up this witty heartbreaker, you'll find a truly authentic portrayal of what it's like to live with a family member suffering from depression. In this case, Lyndie's father struggles with PTSD from a war, and yet the ways it affects Lyndie's close relationship with him will speak to anyone navigating the minefield that mental illness can create in a family.
This book is about letting go of shame and pride, keeping secrets, and taking action, and above all, empathybecause everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.

Gail Shepherd received her creative M.A. from the University of Florida in poetry. She has collaborated on radio plays, written comic serial magazine stories, and published her own biweekly indie newspaper. She currently works in the K-12 education industry, supporting teachers and schools with training and technology. She is a fourth generation Floridian on her mother's side, and she lives in South Florida now with her little family, two dogs, and an awful lot of mosquitoes. The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins is her debut novel.

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A crackling debut.

Review: Publishers Weekly, starred review

Heartwarming story about forgiveness, moving forward through life challenges, and becoming your best self. It keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Review: School Library Journal, starred review

Perfect for fans of Barbara O'Connor, Lyndie's voice leaps off the page, and her spunk, big heart, and dog, Hoopdee, leave you longing for the Smoky Mountains she calls home.

Quote: Shannon Hitchcock, author

Lyndie B. Hawkins is a crackerjack narrator - her smarts, sass and vulnerability hooked me on page one, and never let me go. This is a bang-up book about being eleven in a fast-changing world, about lies gone sideways, and about the courage it takes to claim and live the truth. Go, Lyndie!

Quote: Sheila Turnage, author

Lyndie's narration is frank and funny, but it's her love of research and history that sets her apart.

Review: Booklist, starred review

When was the last time a story broke your heart and made you laugh in the same chapter? A veritable gold mine of perfect words and fine storytelling, The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins will stay with you long after you close the book.

Quote: Augusta Scattergood, author

Put aside the other books on your shelf. Read this one. Now. It will pierce your heart in the best possible way and linger there, changing you bit by bit. This is an extraordinary novel that will leave you forever changed, your humanity broadened. Each sentence is a small piece of art.

Quote: Donna Gephart, author

A storytelling wonder.

Review: Kirkus, starred review

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