At sixteen, Wendy Redbird Dancing flies her freak flag high; she’s a scary-smart white girl with a hippie mom, a missing father, and a rarefied Michael Jackson obsession. It doesn’t help that her mother just uprooted them yet again, this time from California to North Carolina. Now Wendy has to survive a new school and fight bullies who rule this Southern roost.
But one black girl reaches out––Tanay––and she and Wendy forge a friendship to help her fight back. Her mother’s new boyfriend, Shaye, turns out to be decent-not the usual sleaze, but instead, a charming and attractive guy. As he gains her trust, Wendy’s crush ignites, and her hopes for a stable future soar.
When Shaye starts flirting, Wendy is flattered but confused. When things take a terrible turn, she must go underground, waiting for the day she can escape to London for Jackson’s final tour.
All seems lost when the King of Pop dies. But Wendy suddenly hears his ethereal voice, offering guidance and sending her west. Is St. Michael now the only one she can trust?
Lyn Fairchild Hawks’s debut novel melds modern teen life with a parable of betrayal and trust, sharing the light and the dark of human relationships.
Wendy is a girl in constant flux. Her mother uproots her in favor of the next plan/man to come along. Wendy is constantly experiencing new schools and people. When she meets Tanay she feels like she knew her all along. The two become fast friends and Wendy finally has some of what she was missing as she and Tanay fight the bullies. Her mother's new boyfriend, Shaye, seems unusual for her mother's typical picks; he behaves much more like a gentleman and appears to have manners. As Wendy grows to respect Shaye more and more, she realizes that his veneer might be hiding something else.
Wendy is obsessed with Michael Jackson. She uses his music as a sort of comfort. When things go wrong in her life, she decides to take off for his final tour. Tanay tries to help her figure out what to do about her worsening situation, but the two are ill-equipped for what occurred.
I really did enjoy Wendy and Tanay's characters while I thought Shaye's and Wendy's mother's characters leave lots to be desired. I really hated a lot of the adults in this book and rooted for Wendy and Tanay. This book encompasses a lot of the normal struggles of growing up as well as some pretty horrible things that no child should have to face. This book is recommended to young adult readers.
Lyn Fairchild Hawks is the author of a YA novel, How Wendy Redbird Dancing Survived the Dark Ages of Nought, and a collection of short stories, The Flat and Weightless Tang-Filled Future. She is also author of several works for educators. In the last few years, she has won a James Jones First Novel Fellowship prize and an Elizabeth George Foundation grant. As Lyn is married to a musician, Greg Hawks, and stepmom to Henry, an aspiring filmmaker, their North Carolina home hums with the soundtracks of clawhammer banjo, classic films, and chattering computer keys.
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