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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students




*Beyond the Billboard* by Susan Gates- young adult book review
 
Beyond the Billboard
by Susan Gates
Ages 12-17 224 pages Harcourt June 2007 Hardcover    

Firebird and her twin brother, Ford, have never been to school - or to church, or even shopping for food. The twins have, in fact, never left the swampland where they live with their father and grandmother.

Their father, Trapper, makes his living by trapping eels and selling them to the smoker downriver. They eat what they can grow and rely on the swamp to provide all their needs. From their front porch, they can see the city with its tall buildings and bright lights just across the highway, but they have never been there. Their everyday life is hidden from the world by a giant billboard that stands at the edge of the highway.

Gran tells stories about the day the twins were born and the day their mother died, all based on the advertising that was on the billboard on the day of the event. The twins do not remember their mother, but they visit the memorial which their father erected to her deep in the swamp.

Ford is a great help to his father and takes pride in being allowed to help him in hunting the eels. Firebird, however, is becoming restless, longing for a look at life in the city. What her restlessness will bring her and how it will change her life and Fordís is something she cannot even imagine.

Author Susan Gates tells a story of family loyalty and family lies in Beyond the Billboard as she describes the environment of the swamp in which the family lives. The plot is well developed, and the characters evoke emotion from the reader as they face changes for which they neither want nor are prepared.
 
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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