Parents' Guide to


By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

A disfigured classmate teaches stirring lessons.

Book Tony Abbott School 2006
Firegirl Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 10+

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
age 11+
It's a beautiful story, beautiful friendship, love the super power fantasies.. but extremely depressing when Jessica arrives. Love the story and I'm glad it's just fictional, but if it were true.. best wishes to Jessica. :)

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6 ):
Kids say (25 ):

If effort toward becoming a better person, coupled with introspective self-examination and criticism, are the hallmarks of adulthood, then this gentle, touching novel is a true coming-of-age story.

Though the title is FIREGIRL, this poignant little book isn't about Jessica, the disfigured burn victim. It's about Tom, and how he tries to deal with her presence in his class and neighborhood, and how doing so changes everything in his life. It's a story in which, as Tom himself says as narrator, "It wasn't much, really, the whole Jessica Feeney thing. If you look at it, nothing much happened." In terms of physical events, or plot, he's right. What happens is inside him, and that's what author Tony Abbott delicately chronicles.

Tom is nothing special, just a good kid trying to do his best. And that seems to be the real point -- that goodness is a struggle, and even with the best will in the world it's hard to be sure we've done all we can, or should, do. In trying to be a person, Tom doesn't end up miserable or triumphant, or guilty or satisfied -- he's just changed, in ways that will, no doubt, continue to resonate through his life.

Book Details

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