Fishtailing by Wendy PhillipsFishtailing by Wendy Phillips


byWendy Phillips

Paperback | February 14, 2010

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Teen violence, bullying and the burning quest to fit in are presented in the poems of 4 unforgettable high school students.High School. Four lives caught up in a game. The problem with games like this is that there may be winners, but there are always losers.Teen violence, bullying and the burning quest to fit in are presented in the poems of four unforgettable high school students: Natalie, Kyle, Tricia, Miguel. Their stories unfold in this explosive new book, told in free verse. A story of teen angst like no other, it is based on fictional characters but is rooted in the realities of the teen experience.When Natalie moves to a new high school she befriends 3 unwitting victims into her spider-web of manipulations, lies and deceit. Through the poetry and assignments of an English class we glimpse the world of the 4 teens. Natalie, whose alcoholic parents, years of neglect and ultimate rape by her father's friend has shaped her into a cruel and manipulative teen; Tricia, dealing with her blended family is drawn into Natalies's forbidden world of partying and rebellion; Kyle, a would-be musician is in love with Tricia and Miguel who lusts for Natalie while hiding the secrets of his family.The story weaves us through their poetry, their lives and culminates at a party where the four lives fishtail out of control.English class will never be the same.
Wendy began her first novel at the age of 11, climbing the hills behind her hometown of Kamloops, B.C. to scribble in notebooks. Her love for words has led her into jobs as a journalist, a bookbinder, an English teacher and a high-school teacher-librarian. She holds degrees in Journalism, English, Education and Children's Literature. S...
Title:FishtailingFormat:PaperbackDimensions:200 pages, 8.03 × 5.17 × 0.48 inPublished:February 14, 2010Publisher:Coteau BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1550504118

ISBN - 13:9781550504118

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17


Rated 3 out of 5 by from Quick Read... but Definitely Dark So I kind of wished I had read the plot description before I began reading this novel. I mean, I did read the one on the back of the novel, but it's in a lot less detail so as soon as I began reading, I had no idea what was really going on since I knew next to nothing about the characters except their names and that they attended high school. That's not exactly much to go on and for me, whenever I start reading a book, I like to have some sort of basis for what I'm getting myself into... but nonetheless, I did finally learn more about the character's backgrounds as I read and everything became so much clearer! Fishtailing is definitely a novel I would consider a bit out of my element. Told completely in free verse, it centers around the lives of four teenagers- Natalie, Tricia, Kyle, and Miguel- and how their lives intersect, beginning with how they share an English class together. Depressed Tricia is torn by her mixed heritage and finds herself drawn into Natalie's dark world as she becomes closer friends with the new girl. The always quiet Miguel harbours a dark secret from his past but find himself attracted to Natalie. And then the most normal of the bunch, Kyle, has a major crush on Tricia but finds himself at odds about his future and following his dreams to become a musician. It only took me just over an hour to read Fishtailing, but I was surprised by how dark the novel turned out to be. In so few words, Wendy Phillips writes a gritty tale of four teens struggling to deal with life and their circumstances. To put it mildly, they're very troubled but no one is there to really help them. I'll only exclude Kyle because I saw him rather as a beacon of hope... and honestly, if it weren't for him lightening up the moments with his strong feelings for Tricia, it could have been an outright depressing read. The adults, particularly their English teacher, just have no idea how these teens are really feeling. It was rather difficult for me to think of how to rate the novel since the way it's written is different than what I'm used to, so it's not like I have something to compare it by to other novels told in free verse style, but I think three stars is still the safe bet since I did find myself liking it. If you think you're up for a quick read that takes you out of your reading comfort zone, I think Fishtailing will be right up your alley. Once you get into the style of writing, you won't set the book down, transfixed by this hard-hitting tale set in Western Canada that Wendy Phillips seems to effortlessly weave. *Fishtailing is nominated for the 2011 White Pine Award and and is the 2010 recipient of the Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Literature, English text.* You can also read this review at:
Date published: 2011-02-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Quick slide to nastiness Fishtailing is a story of a new girl in school who clearly is an instigator of trouble. She soon changes a small core of students and not for the best. The reader sees this through a series of small poems written by the students and a couple of teachers. Some poems are for an English course assignment, while others seem to be short journal entries. A few email conversations are included. The sparseness creates quite an eery gothic effect. We know little of what is happening and. at the same time, too much. Winner of a 2010 Governor General's literary award.
Date published: 2011-02-17
Rated 1 out of 5 by from What? I really didn't understand this simple and small book. I realize that is the style but I really didn't enjoy it
Date published: 2011-02-12