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Dial Books

Fighting Words

Fighting Words

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*Newbery Honor Book*
*Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor*

A candid and fierce middle grade novel about sisterhood and sexual abuse, by two-time Newbery Honor winner and #1 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 bestselling 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
Gripping. Life-changing...I am awe-struck.--Donna Gephart, author of Lily and Dunkin
Compassionate, truthful, and beautiful.--Elana K. Arnold, author of Damsel
I am blown away. [This] may be Kimberly Brubaker Bradley's best work yet.--Barbara Dee, author of Maybe He Just Likes You
A book that lets [kids] know they have never been alone. And never will be.--Kat Yeh, author of The Truth About Twinkie Pie
Meets the criteria of great children's literature that [will] resonate with adults too.--Bitch Media
* At once heartbreaking and hopeful.--Kirkus (starred review)
* Honest [and] empowering...An important book for readers of all ages.--SLJ (starred review)
* Sensitive[, ] deft, and vivid.--BCCB (starred review)
* Prepare to read furiously.--Booklist (starred review)
* An essential, powerful mirror and window for any reader.--PW (starred review)
* Enlightening, empowering and--yes--uplifting.--BookPage (starred review)
* Unforgettable.--The Horn Book (starred review)

Author: Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Publisher: Dial Books
Published: 08/11/2020
Pages: 272
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 0.85lbs
Size: 8.60h x 5.70w x 1.00d
ISBN: 9781984815682
Audience: Ages 9-12

Accelerated Reader:
Reading Level: 3.6
Point Value: 7
Interest Level: Middle Grade Plus
Quiz #/Name: 509591 / Fighting Words

Review Citation(s):
Kirkus Reviews 05/15/2020
Bulletin of Ctr for Child Bks 07/01/2020
Publishers Weekly 06/29/2020
School Library Journal 07/01/2020 pg. 57
Booklist 08/01/2020 pg. 57
Horn Book Magazine 09/01/2020 pg. 82
Hornbook Guide to Children 07/01/2020 - Outstanding, Noteworthy In Style

About the Author
Kimberly Brubaker Bradley is a two-time Newbery Honor winner and a #1 New York Times bestselling author. She earned her degree from Smith College in 1989. She is popular for her fiction and nonfiction. Visit her at

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