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  1 Steal the North: A Novel
Author: Bergstrom, Heather Brittain
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Class: Fiction
Age: Adult
Language: English
LC: PS3602.E
Print Run: 25000
ISBN-13: 9780670786183
LCCN: 2013036976
Imprint: Viking
Pub Date: 04/10/2014
Availability: Out of Print Confirmed
List: $27.95
Physical Description: 320 pages ; 24 cm H 9.3", W 6.38", D 1.2", 1.1875 lbs.
LC Series:
Brodart Sources: Brodart's Insight Catalog: Adult
Brodart's TOP Adult Titles
Awards: Booklist Starred Reviews
Starred Reviews: Booklist
TIPS Subjects: Romance
Young Adult
BISAC Subjects: FICTION / Family Life / General
FICTION / Coming of Age
LC Subjects: Bildungsromans
Christian fiction
FICTION / Coming of Age
FICTION / Family Life
FICTION / General
Love stories
Young women, Fiction
SEARS Subjects: Bildungsromans
Christian fiction
Love stories
Young women, Fiction
Reading Programs:
Brodart's TOP Adult Titles | 01/01/2014
Having abandoned her sister in the wake of a fundamentalist church fallout, Kate turns to an overprotected 16-year-old named Emmy when Kate learns that Emmy's upcoming faith healing could be Kate's last chance at bringing a child into this world. Emmy's reluctant return home introduces her to a Native American boy and sweep them both into the kind of love that faces sharp ridicule as yesterday's tensions threaten all their bright tomorrows. Debut Novel, 336pp., 25K, Auth res: Northern CA
Starred Reviews:
Booklist | 03/15/2014
Bergstrom's magnetic debut resonates on several levels, but first and foremost it is a poignant story of the love between two mismatched teens. Emmy's mother, Kate, was abandoned by her high-school boyfriend before her daughter was born. Kate and her sister, Bethany, were raised in eastern Washington as members of a fundamentalist church. When Kate was condemned from the pulpit for being a "whore," her father disowned her. Two years later, she boarded a bus with Emmy in tow, ending up in Sacramento and revealing her whereabouts to no one. Fifteen years later, Bethany finds Kate and asks her to send Emmy to Washington to help with her latest pregnancy, which follows several miscarriages. After the initial culture shock, Emmy grows to love not only her birthplace but also Reuben, the Native American boy who lives next door. Bergstrom skillfully builds suspense around what will happen when Emmy is due to return to Sacramento for her senior year, with Kate steering her toward U.C. Berkeley as Reuben is aiming for Washington State. The reader becomes involved in this thoroughly engaging first novel's denouement because of how perceptively Bergstrom has drawn her central characters. Donovan, Deborah. 316p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2014.
Journal Reviews
BookPage | 04/15/2014
Author Heather Brittain Bergstrom has won awards for her short fiction from the Chicago Tribune and Atlantic Monthly, among others. Her outstanding debut novel, Steal the North, is almost guaranteed to add to Bergstrom's award collection. Narrated from multiple perspectives, the novel is a heartbreaking tale of family secrets, unrequited love and the unbreakable bond of family. Sixteen-year-old Emmy Nolan is a sheltered only child living with her mother in Sacramento, California. Emmy knows very little about her mother Kate's childhood, with good reason: Kate wishes to leave her past in the past. Until the day Kate receives a phone call from her estranged sister, Beth, summoning Emmy to her home in rural Washington--the town Kate had fled 15 years earlier, with baby Emmy, after her boyfriend abandoned her and her own father and the fundamentalist church they attended shunned her. The passion, spiritual connection and once-in-a-lifetime love that Reuben and Emmy share makes the reader's heart ache--and could secure Steal the North a spot on the bookshelves of discerning teens. But now Beth, the only person who stood up for Kate during that time, is begging for her help. She is pregnant for what she believes is the final time; Beth and her husband Matt have experienced too many miscarriages to count during their marriage. She wants Kate to send Emmy to participate in a faith healing ceremony to help ensure a safe delivery. Though angry with her mother for keeping secrets and dubious about moving in with an aunt she doesn't remember, Emmy reluctantly goes. While living with Matt and Beth, she makes discoveries about her mother's past that are painful, but her life is broadened and awakened in ways that she had never imagined. Bergstrom's knowledge of eastern Washington, the Colville and Yakama Reservations and the lives of the Native Americans who live there are central to this novel--especially her careful construction of Emmy's relationship with Reuben Tonasket, the Native American who lives in the trailer next door. The passion, spiritual connection and once-in-a-lifetime love that Reuben and Emmy share makes the reader's heart ache--and could secure Steal the North a spot on the bookshelves of discerning teens. Bergstrom has delivered a debut novel with deep emotional ties, linking the reader to Emmy as she navigated her relationship with Reuben, struggled to understand her mother's past and discovered her own identity. I ached for Emmy as I used up the last of my tissues, and I trust that anyone who embarks on this journey will do the same. Elisabeth Atwood. BookPageXTRA Online Review. BOOKPAGE, c2014.
Kirkus Reviews | 02/15/2014
Young love springs up in a place where older hearts were bruised, in Bergstrom's debut saga. Raised motherless under the influence of a fundamentalist Baptist church in eastern Washington state, sisters Kate and Bethany Nolan grew up close, and when Kate needed help after a teenage love affair left her pregnant and alone, condemned from the pulpit and prostituting herself at a local truck stop, Bethany helped her and her baby, Emmy, leave for a new life in California. Now, 16 years later, Kate asks Emmy to return to Bethany, who is childless after many miscarriages, to take part in a healing ceremony to bless her latest pregnancy. Shy, relocated to relatives she never knew existed, Emmy finds herself in a rural community where she feels a sense of belonging and is befriended by Reuben, a Native American boy. Narrated, sometimes distractingly, from multiple perspectives, the novel considers several relationships--Bethany's solid marriage, tested by her religious beliefs and yearning for children; Kate's struggle to accept a permanent relationship; Emmy's discovery of mutuality with Reuben. Bergstrom's emphasis on sentiment and issues lends a downbeat note to the storytelling, which is intensified when tragedy strikes and only partly dissipates by the drawn-out but happy conclusion. A carefully crafted family drama that dwells more on the difficult journey than the glad arrival. 336pg. KIRKUS MEDIA LLC, c2014.
Library Journal | 05/01/2014
Raised by single mom Kate in Sacramento, CA, 16-year-old Emmy believes she has no other family until Kate informs her that she'll be spending the summer in eastern Washington with Kate's sister, Beth. Still a member of the fundamentalist Christian sect that Kate left Washington to escape, Beth has suffered numerous miscarriages and wants Emmy to participate in a healing ceremony so that she can carry her current pregnancy to term. While staying with Beth and her husband, Matt, Emmy meets and falls in love with Reuben, a Cayuse Indian trying to walk the fine line between respecting his cultural traditions and distancing himself from the poverty and low expectations of reservation life. Reuben is such a well-drawn character that he takes over the story. VERDICT Bergstrom's debut novel is filled with damaged women and the almost impossibly supportive and understanding men (including Matt, Reuben, and Kate's boyfriend Spencer) who love them. The combination of emotional power and environmental and sociopolitical commentary might remind some readers of Barbara Kingsolver. Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis. 315p. LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2014.
Publishers Weekly | 01/27/2014
Award-winning short story author Bergstrom makes a strong debut with her first novel. Emmy Nolan, a shy teenager brought up by a tough single mother in Sacramento, Calif., doesn't even know she has living relatives until her aunt tracks her mother down and begs for Emmy to attend a faith-healing ceremony--the aunt's last chance, she believes, to carry a child to term after countless miscarriages. Emmy is shocked to discover that her mother was raised in a fundamentalist church and shunned by family and community after giving birth to Emmy while she was in high school. Once she arrives at her aunt's home in eastern Washington State, Emmy feels like a fraud (her aunt thinks she's both a Christian and a virgin; Emmy is neither), but grows to love her aunt and uncle, as well as Reuben, the Native American teenager next door. The book is far more than a story of love or belief, and its layers are peeled away as the narrative progresses. Chapters are written from the perspectives of several different characters (at times it feels like there are too many different points of view), often in second person, and the choice of present tense works. Emmy's self-involvement makes it difficult, at times, to remain completely in her corner. Reuben is by far the most charismatic character in the book. But Bergstrom takes the reader so deeply into the characters that it's easy to forgive the few things that don't work, because much of the book works so well. (Apr.). 336p. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2014.