The Book Reviews – Website

August 30, 2009

Finding Fish

Finding Fish

Author: Antwone Quentin Fisher

Page Length: 340

Reading Level: 10

Genre: Autobiography       

PLOT SUMMARY: Antwone Fisher was born in a prison and immediately placed in foster care where he was constantly verbally abused, often physically abused, and on occasion, sexually abused.  He lived in the home of the Pickett’s with his two foster siblings for 13 years.  During that time, he expressed himself through artwork, but mostly led a rather silent life, feeling unworthy.  On page 72, Fisher writes how his dreams were abandoned and he lived only to survive the day-to-day routine of school and verbal abuse at home.

When Antwone entered a new school in fourth grade, he met an angel, his teacher, Miss Profitt.  She was fair and treated him as if he were special. Although the Child Protective Services monitored Antwone’s foster parents and they suspected the Pickett’s were not providing the appropriate domestic environment, there never seemed to be a better placement for Antwone. 

At the age of 16, Antwone was placed in a reform school, where he felt more comfortable and safe than in his foster home. Antwone knew he had nowhere else to go.  After a time at the reform school, Antwone left and found himself homeless.  He eventually joined the Navy and it was there that he found confidence in himself and learned that he was worthy of a good life.  He began to write poetry and demonstrated excellent written and oral command with leadership qualities (p. 291). Through his experience in the Navy, Antwone found family, friendship, belonging, education, and purpose.

He eventually reconnected with his foster siblings, his biological mother, and then, married and had a daughter, Indigo. 

REVIEW: Because of the tragic experiences Antwone Fisher experienced in his childhood, this book reads more like fiction than reality.  The harsh treatment he received by his foster parents is difficult to read.  However, the story gives hope to those who do experience abuse, poverty, and loneliness as Antwone tells how through a few positive contacts in his life he did strive to be the best he could be. 

Although the writing is very descriptive, the teacher should be aware that it is quite graphic.  I would suggest the book for mature students.

TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: descriptive murder (p. 21), sexual abuse (p. 43-44, 241, and 245), harsh language and profanity (p. 138, 155, 195, 199-200, 231, 246, 274, 281)

AREAS OF TEACHING: Setting, Character, Sequence of Events, Cause/Effect, Point of View

RELATED BOOKS: The Antwone Fisher Story (screenplay), Who Will Cry for the Little Boy? (Poems), A Child Called It

MOVIE CONNECTIONS: Antwone Fisher (2002)


REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner


December 1, 2008

Hit Squad

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Hit Squad

Author: James Heneghan

Page Length: 106  

Reading Level: 3.8

Genre: Fiction

PLOT SUMMARY: Grandview High School has been known in the past as an upscale high school with few gangs or inner high school rivalry.  When students get a choice to transfer across previous school boundaries, some bullying and hazing begin to occur.  Birgit is trapped in a closet with three strange girls spitting chocolate on her, Mickey’s lunch is stolen and Joey is beaten up so badly he is admitted into the local hospital.  Birgit feels that the principal and teachers cannot control the violence, so she forms a “Hit Squad” made up of Mickey, two other football players and herself to teach the bullies a lesson.

REVIEW:  This was a captivating book because of the violent action occurring on a high school campus. To me, it was almost too violent in the retaliation steps that the “Hit Squad” takes to teach the bullies a lesson.  When Candy, Mickey’s foster sister questions him about the ‘squads’ methods and motives, Mickey appears to hear what she is saying, but because of his infatuation with Birgit, he makes choices that become fatal.

I think both boys and girls would both enjoy this book.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: Theme, Conflict, and Setting

TOUCHY AREAS: Alcohol and marijuana use on page 56.


MOVIE, MUSIC, ART CONNECTIONS: Rats and Bullies (2004), Mean Creek (2004), Bully (2006)


REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner



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