Being Fishkill (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Caramel Fishkill was born in the back of a moving car and named after a sign on the side of the highway. She lives in a trailer with her neglectful alcoholic mother and abusive grandfather, but must fend for herself when her grandfather dies and her mother disappears. She changes her name to Fishkill Caramel and returns to school with a tough new exterior, but she doesn’t bargain on meeting eccentric Duck-Duck Farina and joining her gang, the GR. Duck-Duck and her mother, Molly, adopt Fishkill into their family and her walls start to come down, only for the reappearance of her mother to destroy the fragile life that she’s started to build for herself. This is a hard book to read, but Lehrer handles the intense themes well and makes it worth the heartache by letting us into Fishkill’s life. 14+ 
— From Kinsey's Picks


Fishkill Carmel fends for herself, with her fists if need be -- until a thwarted lunch theft introduces her to strange, sunny Duck-Duck and a chance for a new start.

Born in the backseat of a moving car, Carmel Fishkill was unceremoniously pushed into a world that refuses to offer her security, stability, love. At age thirteen, she begins to fight back. Carmel Fishkill becomes Fishkill Carmel, who deflects her tormenters with a strong left hook and conceals her secrets from teachers and social workers. But Fishkill's fierce defenses falter when she meets eccentric optimist Duck-Duck Farina, and soon they, along with Duck-Duck's mother, Molly, form a tentative family, even as Fishkill struggles to understand her place in it. This fragile new beginning is threatened by the reappearance of Fishkill's unstable mother -- and by unfathomable tragedy. Poet Ruth Lehrer's young adult debut is a stunning, revelatory look at what defines and sustains "family." And, just as it does for Fishkill, meeting Duck-Duck Farina and her mother will leave readers forever changed.

About the Author

Ruth Lehrer is a poet, author, and American Sign Language interpreter. She lives in the woods of western Massachusetts.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780763684426
ISBN-10: 0763684422
Publisher: Candlewick Press (MA)
Publication Date: November 14th, 2017
Pages: 320
Language: English