Goobie, Beth. Who Owns Kelly Paddik? Orca, 2003. ISBN 978-1551432397 128 pp. $9.99
Kelly, newly arrived at Marymound School for Girls, wants nothing except to run away, from this place with the high fences and wire enforced glass windows, from her past, from her life. When she accidentally gets hold of Sister Mary’s master keys, will she stay in one of the first safe places she has known, or flee?
Part of Orca’s hi-lo Soundings series, Who Owns Kelly Paddick? is a contemporary problem novel about a girl abused by her father who thinks only suicide will help her escape her anger. Details about behavior of teen girls in abusive situations seem well-researched and authentic, even if the plot is quickly resolved as Kelly learns she is not alone.
Goobie is successful at presenting an engaging story in a limited amount of space, using a simple vocabulary that doesn’t talk down to reluctant or struggling readers. On the contrary, lines like “Her eyes were that pale kind of blue that looks like the sky died in them,” and “yellow leaves blew down the streets like sadness, like freedom,” elevate this book from passable to excellent.
Although this book is not as well suited to class discussion as other titles in the series, it is highly recommended for all secondary school and public library collections.