259. Lucy Unstrung by Carole Lazar

Lucy Unstrung by Carole Lazar (Canada) - (USA)

Pages: 235
Ages: 12+
Finished: Nov. 19, 2010
First Published: Aug. 10, 2010
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: YA, realistic fiction
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

When my mom finally walks in the door at nine-fifteen, she acts like nothing's wrong at all.

Acquired: Received a review copy from the Tundra Books.

Reason for Reading: I was intrigued by the Catholic nature of the main character and whether it truly would be a positive portrayal. Not something often found in YA literature.

An astounding novel of an authentic Catholic family dealing with real life issues. Lucy's mom was 14 when she became pregnant with her and now she is 28 and feeling that she needs "a life". As she takes evening classes and such she meets a new worldly friend and it isn't much longer until she separates from her husband and plans a new life for herself for the next four years while she goes back to school. Lucy is 13 and has a solid Catholic upbringing having been raised by her Grandma, and her father is seen as practicing the faith as well. But Lucy is shocked by her mother's new behaviour which seems to contradict so many Church teachings. She learns so much during this time of struggle as her parents sell their house and move into new homes.

I loved this book! Plot-wise, we have a fairly typical story of a young girl trying to deal with her parents separation and all the upheaval and turmoil this causes her personally as she moves with her mom into a trailer park and has to attend a new school, a public school, where she becomes the object of the class bully. But through it all (apart from the separation) the family remains true to their faith and this is what impressed me most about the story and made it so enjoyable along with the humorous touches. The book is not preachy in anyway it simply shows how one faith lives. While the two adults separate and it does seem to be for the long haul divorce is never mentioned this early, we see inside the confessional and what it's really like in there (especially for a young teen), we see Lucy questions her faith as she takes Church teachings to extremes and then seeks guidance and we see her going to mass regularly with both her mom and dad.

A wonderful, refreshing, humorous story that deals with tough issues from a positive Catholic perspective without being religious fiction. There have been many books written about teens dealing with similar issues from Muslim, Jewish, Asian, etc. perspectives and now, finally, the Catholic perspective can also be found. I do highly recommend this for Catholic school libraries and mainstream teens as well, if they can read about a religion not their own while still respecting the persons who believe as they do. I know just the girl I'll be passing this book on to!


  1. This does sound like a good one - I can't imagine being 28 and having a 13 year old! Whew! I love that cover too.

  2. I really loved this one when I read it a while back, and I'm glad you did, too! :-)


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