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Fighting Words  By  cover art

Fighting Words

By: Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
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Publisher's summary

*Newbery Honor Book*
*Odyssey Honor Audiobook*

A candid and fierce middle grade novel about sisterhood and sexual abuse, by two-time Newbery Honor winner and number one New York Times best seller Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, author of The War that Saved My Life

Kirkus Prize Finalist
Boston Globe Best Book of the Year
Horn Book Fanfare Best Book of the Year
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
Booklist Best Book of the Year
Kirkus Best Book of the Year
BookPage Best Book of the Year
New York Public Library Best Book of the Year
Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year
Golden Kite Honor Book
Rise: Feminist Book Project Selection
ALSC Notable Book
Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) Choices Selection
Junior Library Guild Selection

"Fighting Words is raw, it is real, it is necessary, a must-read for children and their adults - a total triumph in all ways." (Holly Goldberg Sloan, New York Times best-selling author of Counting by 7s)

Ten-year-old Della has always had her older sister, Suki: When their mom went to prison, Della had Suki. When their mom's boyfriend took them in, Della had Suki. When that same boyfriend did something so awful they had to run fast, Della had Suki. Suki is Della's own wolf - her protector. But who has been protecting Suki? Della might get told off for swearing at school, but she has always known how to keep quiet where it counts. Then Suki tries to kill herself, and Della's world turns so far upside down, it feels like it's shaking her by the ankles. Maybe she's been quiet about the wrong things. Maybe it's time to be loud.

In this powerful novel that explodes the stigma around child sexual abuse and leavens an intense tale with compassion and humor, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley tells a story about two sisters, linked by love and trauma, who must find their own voices before they can find their way back to each other.

"Della’s matter-of-fact narration manages to be as funny and charming as it is devastatingly sad.... This is a novel about trauma and the scars it leaves on bodies, minds and hearts. But more than that, it’s a book about resilience, strength and healing." (New York Times Book Review)

"One of the most important books ever written for kids." (Colby Sharp of Nerdy Book Club)

"One for the history books.... One of the best of the year." (Betsy Bird for A Fuse #8 Production/SLJ)

©2020 Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (P)2020 Listening Library

Critic reviews

"Believable and immensely appealing, Suki, Francine, and especially Della light up [the] story . . . Readers will root for these sisters along every step of their daunting journey. Refusing to soft-pedal hard issues, the novel speaks with an astringent honesty, at once heartbreaking and hopeful.” —Kirkus (starred review)

“Always an engaging and smooth writer, Bradley here unfurls a tale that initially recalls Paterson’s classic Great Gilly Hopkins but then adds layers of complexity . . . It’s a sensitive exploration of the way people can suffer in different ways and need different things, and characterization is deft and vivid . . . Stirring . . . Satisfying . . . Rewarding.” BCCB (starred review)

“Despite the horrors the sisters have endured, there is humor and warmth in this multifaceted, brave novel. Bradley creates fully developed, believable characters that readers will root for. . . . Raw and honest, this ultimately empowering novel is an important book for readers of all ages.” SLJ (starred review)