James is a championship diver, with a shot for the Olympics. But where did his talent really come from? His adoptive parents cannot tell him -- so, after years of unanswered questions, he does the unthinkable. He breaks training, and runs off to the farmland of his birth, with nothing but a mysterious stone shaped like a snake. Can he use it to unlock his past?
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Born in Knotty Ash, Liverpool, Berlie Doherty is the youngest of three children. She has been a social worker, a journalist, a teacher, and, for the past fifteen years, a writer.
Berlie has twice won the prestigious Carnegie Medal, for ‘Grannie was a Buffer Girl’ in 1987 and for ‘Dear Nobody’ in 1992. She lives in the Derbyshire Peak District.From School Library Journal:
Grade 7 Up?James, at 15, is a championship diver who hopes to compete in future Olympics. In the midst of his most intensive training, however, he becomes obsessed with the idea of finding his birth mother. His parents have always been open with him about his adoption, offering the scant information they have about his birth?the baby clothes he was wearing, a strange stone, and a torn bit of envelope on which a note is scrawled. Examining the envelope closely, James deciphers enough letters of the return address to determine the name of the village, and instead of taking a train to London for a week of coaching, he heads for Derbyshire. Interspersed with James's story is his birth mother's narrative. As he nears his destination, the dramatic circumstances of his birth unfold, giving readers a sense of the desperation felt by a young farm girl who hid her pregnancy from her overbearing father. When the two finally meet, readers know just how little?and how much?they have to offer one another. The two stories intertwine exquisitely as the climax nears, and the ending is truly satisfying without sentimentality. Doherty's characterizations are especially strong and her plot is well crafted to carry readers through James's emotional upheaval. The Snake-Stone is an important book for anyone who has wondered about the emotions surrounding issues of adoption. The impact is similar to Lois Lowry's Find a Stranger, Say Good-bye (Houghton, 1978), which has a female protagonist.?Connie C. Rockman, formerly at Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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