April 2009 Indie Next List
“Something has happened to 9th-grader Maisie Willard in the back of the school bus, but readers won't know whose story is true until the novel's end. Francine Prose truly has a knack for keeping the reader in suspense throughout the entire book. I couldn't put it down and can't wait to see what she writes next.”
— Athena Silver, Spellbound Children's Bookshop, Asheville, NC
Did they, or didn't they?
Did she, or didn't she?
Something happened to fourteen-year-old Maisie Willard something involving her three friends, all boys. But their stories don't match, and the rumors spin out of control. Then other people get involved . . . the school, the parents, the lawyers. The incident at the back of the bus becomes the center of Maisie's life, the talk of the school and, horribly, it becomes news. With just a few words and a touch, the kids and their community are changed forever.
From nationally acclaimed author Francine Prose comes an unforgettable story about the difficulties of telling the truth, the consequences of lying, and the most dangerous twist of all the possibility that you yourself will come to believe something that you know isn't true.
About the Author
Francine Prose is the author of twenty works of fiction. Her novel A Changed Man won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and Blue Angel was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her most recent works of nonfiction include the highly acclaimed Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife, and the New York Times bestseller Reading Like a Writer. The recipient of numerous grants and honors, including a Guggenheim and a Fulbright, a Director's Fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, Prose is a former president of PEN American Center, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her most recent book is Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932. She lives in New York City.
“[Maisie’s] anger, hurt, and sexual awakening are riveting, as are all the novel’s big questions about harassment and every incident’s multiple versions of the truth.”
-Booklist (starred review)
“Caught by Maisie’s immediate first-person narrative, readers will race through the story...Riveting.”
-Booklist (starred review)
“An incisive and compelling novel... Readers will be fascinated by this convincing tale and the questions that it raises, from its gripping first chapter to its poignant and surprising conclusion.”
-Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“A nuanced meditation on how stories of abuse can confuse and obscure the truth...Prose’s (Bullyville) adept narration and shunning of easy answers will hold readers’ interest. ”
“Prose keeps capable control of Maisie’s voice...Middle schoolers attempting to negotiate the same territory will appreciate this chance to narratively explore some of its troubling regions.”
-Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books