by Claire Zorn
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
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Opening Line: I have three months left to call Katie my older sister. Then the gap will close and I will pass her. I will get older. But Katie will always be fifteen, eleven months and twenty-one days old.
This book takes place in Australia and has won many awards there. Protected is the winner of the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction, Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction as well as CBCA Book of the Year for Older Readers. I am so happy this book has won awards for it story and writing. I’m even more happy that it is finally be published in America so we get the chance to read this book that will touch the reader and give you many ranges of emotions as you read.
About the book: Hannah’s world is in pieces and she doesn’t need the school counselor to tell her she has deep-seated psychological issues. With a seriously depressed mum, an injured dad and a dead sister, who wouldn’t have problems? Hannah should feel terrible but for the first time in ages, she feels a glimmer of hope and isn’t afraid anymore. Is it because the elusive Josh is taking an interest in her? Or does it run deeper than that? In a family torn apart by grief and guilt, one girl’s struggle to come to terms with years of torment shows just how long old wounds can take to heal.
Lately I’ve been getting a lot of books where a sibling passes away. These subjects are so hard to read. I know for some it really helps them to process it all and understand that they are not alone when there are books that touch the subject. This book was so heartbreaking plan to have tissues nearby. Protected tackles bullying and I mean extreme horrible bullying. If that wasn’t enough to make you have so many ranges of emotion it also tackles the death of Hannah’s big sister. Hannah and her sister Katie were similar to my sister and I. We loved each other but really didn’t click. I know she feels like she got stuck with me a lot of times. I always got the feeling that Katie felt that way as well. Hannah and Katie had their differences but Katie did nothing when the mean kids also known as the popular kids were tormenting Hannah. This is where my sister was different she was always my best cheerleader and protector. Katie could have stopped it but Katie was wrapped up in her own world and I think she felt if she told them to stop she wouldn’t be in their group anymore and for her that was just not an option. Then something beyond tragic happens and the ironic thing is the mean kids no longer torment Hannah. Hannah really didn’t need them to torment her anymore she was going through a grief so unbearable that just day to day life tormented her and her family.
The families grief was very realistic and written very well. I could imagine myself being that mom that just didn’t want to face the days after the accident. She wanted to numb herself with pills and sleep. Maybe if she didn’t face the days she wouldn’t have to feel. The dad had his own grief in the fact that he was the driver, he was injured and dealing with day to day healing and pain from his injuries as well as unanswered questions. This means Hannah was left on her own to do deal with everything that happened and has happened to her leading up to this fateful day that changed everyone’s life in the family. Hannah finally finds someone who not only accepts her for who she is, he also didn’t know her before. He is her rock and someone she needs to finally accept everything and process it. Add an amazing school counselor who helps the healing process and doesn’t pass judgments she just listens which is what Hannah needs so much since her home life is where no one is listening or talking.
Protected by Claire Zorn is a heavy book with topics to tackle. Claire Zorn did an amazing job and didn’t drop the ball at all. She tackles the death of a child, and school bullying full one and holds back no punches. I felt it was very realistic in what Hannah and her family were experiencing. This one will upset the reader but sometimes we need to read those books that push the buttons and makes you feel things you don’t want to. This is one I hope schools buy since I know it will talk to some readers and help them process things and know that they are not alone.
Thank you so very much Sourcebooks Fire for sending me a copy of Protected by Claire Zorn. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.