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In Spite of Killer Bees


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About the Author

Born and raised in Smiths Falls, in the Ottawa Valley, Julie Johnston began writing plays in high school for her classmates. Her first published work was a short novel, which was published in serial form in the local paper. She returned to creating plays in the 1970s and this time focused on younger audiences, writing works her own children could perform. At the same time, she decided to try her hand at something more serious and entered a one-act composition in the Canadian Playwriting Competition, taking first prize. A dexterous author who is comfortable writing drama, short stories and novels, she has garnered great success with her first two young adult novels, Adam and Eve and Pinch-Me and Hero of Lesser Causes, both of which won the Governor General's Literary Award for Text in Children's Literature and received numerous awards and accolades throughout North America. In her long-awaited third novel, The Only Outcast, Julie takes readers back to the turn-of-the-century and into a summer of mystery, adventure and passion for sixteen-year-old Frederick at a summer cottage on the Rideau. The book was a finalist for the 1998 Governor General's Literary Award and the Ruth Schwartz Children's Book Award. For Love Ya Like A Sister, Julie acted as editor, compiling the letters, journals, and e-mail correspondence of Katie Ouriou, a Calgary teen who died suddenly while living in Paris with her family. Katie's messages to her friends back home in Canada are full of love, spiritual inspiration and demonstrate the strength that exists in the bonds of friendship. In Spite of Killer Bees examines the bonds between three sisters and their eclectic extended family in a small town. The mother of four grown daughters, Julie Johnston and her husband reside in Peterborough.


Gr 7-10-The Quade girls were raised by their father, a small-time gambler and thief who was disowned by his wealthy father for marrying a good-for-nothing woman. After their mother deserts them and their father dies, the girls are taken in by a woman who owns a deli, but their lives change when they are notified that the grandfather whom they've never met has died and named them in his will. Helen, 22, Jeannie, 17, and Aggie, 14, meet with the attorney only to learn that in order to claim their inheritance, they must live in their grandfather's mausoleum-type house in a town populated by people who are suspicious of them, and convince their Great Aunt Lily, whom they think is crazy, to live with them. Aunt Lily thinks the girls are imposters. Ever-fearful Aggie worries about what will happen to her as her sisters, old enough to go their separate ways, constantly talk about escaping from their problems. Johnston has written a story about the importance of family and the strength and courage it takes to bring relatives back together after they have been torn apart. She uses beautiful imagery and well-defined characters. This book will strike a chord with many teens because of the dynamics of the family and the situation in which the siblings find themselves, and readers will surely revel in the happily ever after ending.-Susan Geye, Crowley Ninth Grade Campus, TX Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"A gem - another one - from two-time Governor-General's Award-winner Julie Johnston."
-The Globe and Mail

"...a signature Julie Johnston story: complex, subtle, and engaging."
-The Horn Book Magazine

"...Johnston's...narrative is compelling, fluctuating between distance, edginess, and heartfelt intimacy...An insightful novel about sisters, reconciling past and present, and opening hearts and minds."

"Forget killer bees. What this Canadian novel has is a killer plot."
-Washington Post

"Julie Johnston is quickly becoming the Alice Munro of Canadian children's publishing...[this is] a brilliant, brilliant book."
-Michele Landsberg

"Extraordinary...Johnston has created an exuberant novel that simply whips readers into the midst of these unforgettable characters."
-Quill & Quire

"This is a leisurely, intriguing, and offbeat saga about a 'born-again family-girl' who finds a place in the world."
-The Bulletin

"Aggie is sure to become one of Johnston's most beloved characters."
-Children's Book News Summer/Fall 2001

"Johnston's novel is a delightful mixture of warmth and disfunctionality, alienation and human contact...Johnston has a hilarious penchant for undercutting sentiment...Here's heart, readability and enormous literary sophistication, all lightly worn."
-The Toronto Star

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