CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 8 . . . . October 24, 2014
While Ally always sensed that her mother would die young, nothing could have prepared her to be orphaned by her mother's decision to step into the path of an oncoming bus. Adapting to her new life in foster care gives Ally time to process her feelings about her troubled upbringing with her pill-addicted mother.
Just as Ally begins to settle into her new life as a foster child, her world is once again upended when she meets Tate, a charismatic street artist. A vagabond and thrill-seeker at heart, Tate teaches Ally the art of fire-breathing as they embark on a whirlwind romance. The couple begin performing together, making a living and a life on the street.
When Ally learns that Tate plans to hit the road to perform his act at festivals, she takes a leap of faith and purchases a bus ticket. Upon discovering her plans to follow him, the nomadic artist ends the relationship. In a moment of impulsive anger, Ally makes off with Tate's performance equipment and hurtles headlong into life on the streets. She soon finds herself adopted by a group of older, more advanced street performers and eventually finds herself face-to-face with the elusive (and now very angry) Tate, once again.
Ally manages to rebuild her decimated friendship with Tate by compensating him for his lost earnings and returning his performance equipment. The story ends happily with two of Ally's older fellow street performers agreeing to undertake necessary steps to foster Ally, helping her get her life back on track.
The fast-paced plot of Breathing Fire will appeal to reluctant teen readers with short attention spans. The author deals with such sensitive subject matter as addiction, death, sex, and poverty from a relatable, first-person perspective.
Amy Trepanier is the Teen Services Manager at Red Deer Public Library in Red Deer, AB.
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