Fighting Words

Fighting Words

Book - 2020
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"Ten-year-old Della can rely on her older sister, Suki, for anything, but when Suki attempts suicide, Della must seek help and speak out about the sexual abuse they've both suffered at the hands of their mother's boyfriend"--
Publisher: New York, New York :, Dial Books for Young Readers,, [2020]
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9781984815682
Characteristics: 259 pages ;,22 cm.


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Feb 15, 2021

This book is a powerful warning to anyone, and I mean anyone, who wants to abuse a girl. Della and Suki didn't deserve to be abused like this and Della's story about how she was nearly r*ped cut me deep down inside. I hope nobody in the real world has to go through this kind of torture. Thank you Kimberly Brubaker Bradley for writing such a story. Thank you for speaking out. Nobody deserves this, and I hope that nobody will ever have to go through it.

Jan 17, 2021

This is such powerful. Della and Suki should never have had to deal with the horrors of what they went through. Della is an incredibly strong and courageous girl and I loved her for it. Suki was broken, but can still heal.

The only person in this book that drove me crazy was the teacher. How do you forget the things that this child has gone through? She has a responsibility to her students and she was failing a bunch of them.

Other than that, a fantastic book that a whole lot of children should experience to know that they are not alone.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Dec 03, 2020

There is no way of mincing words. This book is hard to read. It is about hard content. It is a middle grade novel and it is about sexual abuse and every fiber of your being if you read it as an adult will scream that you do not want kids to suffer through what the main characters of this book suffer through and that you want to protect kids who haven't from knowing that it happens. None of that matters. Kids suffer through these situations every day. They need to feel less alone. Their classmates need to understand how to be kind to these kids who are amongst them, whether they know it or not. Kids need to read this book. You will not want to give this book to kids. Do it anyway and create a safe space for them to ask questions if they have them. Read it with them. Yes, it's icky. It is also super important.

Nov 23, 2020

This was a fantastic story that addressed the very difficult topics of neglect, sexual abuse, parental incarceration, foster care, consent, and more in a very sensitive way. The story was so absorbing, and I loved Della the entire time.

Nov 21, 2020

An ampersand(&) = "an expectation for something more to occur." When Delicious (Della) Neveah Roberts decides to get a tattoo that defines her, this is what she got. Once you read Della--and Suki's-- story, you will be cheering them on with the hope they have inked on their wrists. This book is so timely as we continue to try to maintain necessary progress from #metoo. There are so many broken and hurt kids out there. How can we love them and help them to heal? This book shows us a way. It starts by listening. This is possibly the best middle grade fiction book I have read this year. Come on, Newbery! We have a winner.

Oct 23, 2020

An excellent story on a tough subject. Every kid who has experienced sexual abuse should read this. It delves into bullying at school, the foster care system, psychotherapy, and coping when adults fail you. Best of all, it's a story about survival, strength, and hope for the future. Little Della and older sister Suki are regular kids that youngsters can relate with. Told from the view from someone who's been there. Well done! Recommended for both kids and adults. 5 stars.

Oct 20, 2020

This book gives you the feels, I may have cried at certain moments. It is pretty deep for young adults but the underlying message that your body is your own is throughout the book and I thought that was a great message for young women.

vm510 Oct 06, 2020

Our main character Della is starting to better understand the abuse she and her sister suffered at the hands on an authority figure. Heavy topics, but done with grace.

Sep 10, 2020

Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley is an important book and the School Library Journal in there May 2020 review said, “You are free to dislike this book, but don’t take it away from the children who need it. After all, you may never even know who they are.”

I am an ex-elementary classroom teacher and elementary principal and I think this is an excellent and valuable book for parents, teachers, librarians, and of course - students, 10 and up to read. It is realistic fiction.

My working over 20 years in elementary schools leads me to report that this story is highly realistic with all of the complexity that I have encountered in my years. It is a sad reality that kids are abused. This topic is a difficult one to address with any kind of integrity for a young audience. Kimberly Brubaker Bradley has succeeded in writing a book that is outstanding in every way.

Della and Suki are sisters. Their mom is in jail several states away from them. They have different fathers and they don’t know who they are. After their mother was arrested and was incarcerated the sisters lived with the man who was mom’s boyfriend when she was arrested. He is the person who caused the abuse.

Allot of you, if you are still reading, may be thinking - what good could a story like this hold?

The Kirkus Review wrote in May 2020 about Fighting Words, saying: “The focus throughout, rightly, is on the aftermath of abuse, the content is accessible to middle-grade readers but not graphically conveyed. Believable and immensely appealing, Suki, Francine, and especially Della (all are white, though Della is a bit “browner” than Suki) light up what might have been an unremittingly bleak story: Charting a path to wholeness is hard enough; the human roadblocks they encounter make it nearly insurmountable. Readers will root for these sisters along every step of their daunting journey.”

Publisher’s Weekly awarded Fighting Words with a Star Review! And I am going to restate what the School Library Journal review said, “You are free to dislike this book, but don’t take it away from the children who need it. After all, you may never even know who they are.”

I recommend this book!

Sep 09, 2020

Difficult story told with sensitivity and compassion. Excellent word choice and pacing. Loved this book!


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"...some things are almost impossible to talk about because they're things no one wants to know." (p 50)

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