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Phoenix Rising

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,216 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews

Nyle's life with her grandmother on their Vermont sheep farm advances rhythmically through the seasons until the night of the accident at the Cookshire nuclear power plant. Without warning, Nyle's modest world fills with protective masks, evacuations, contaminated food, disruptions, and mistrust.

Nyle adjusts to the changes. As long as the fallout continues blowing to the E

Paperback, 192 pages
Published September 1st 1995 by Puffin Books (first published June 15th 1994)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,022)
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Apr 12, 2008 Megan rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read this book. It made me cry. The characters are very real because of the complicated emotions they have. The plot about the radiation was relatable because although it's not as bad today, people still have horrible cancer. This book is really touching.
Jun 20, 2007 Emily rated it it was amazing
This is probably one of my most favorite books ever. It's a hope-inspiring story.
Dec 28, 2011 Melanie rated it it was amazing
Though I haven't read this book in YEARS, it used to be one of my favorites in school. I cannot tell you how many times I signed this book out of the library, and read it with a box of tissues.

December 2011: I got this book as a Christmas gift because my sister knew how much I loved this book and wanted a copy. I re-read this and loved it just as much now as I did back then. While it's juvenile fiction, nothing about it reads that way. It's a beautiful story of first love and loss under the bac
Apr 24, 2014 Alex rated it it was ok
Phoenix Rising began with an interesting premise, but ended up getting mired in a swamp of YA tropes that I was really hoping to avoid. It takes place on a farm that is on the outskirts of Boston where a nuclear power plant has gone into meltdown. The fallout exists as a nameless fear that the characters are constantly dealing with, and with the mention of Anne Frank, it becomes an interesting metaphor for life in Nazi Germany--especially when the main character and her grandmother agree to take ...more
Jun 11, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
I was pulled into this book! It is a fast read! I read it in one evening. I just love the charaters of the story they got me hooked. I love books that just pull at me emotionaly like this one did.
Carmen Yeung
Jul 08, 2012 Carmen Yeung rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teens
Recommended to Carmen by: suggestion list
Spoiler alert

This novel began in a family that only consisted of Nyle and her grandmother, because her father left her and both her mother and grandfather died. Nyle is a teenage girl that lived in a house next to her farm with sheeps. She also have a best friend, short but strong named Munice. Since shes in a farm, the most deadly thing that can wipe out the entire farm is radiation. Thats what resulted in her meeting Ezra, a boy that was sicken by radiation and had to move to her house along
Jan 04, 2012 Kayla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended to me by my sister and I'm so glad I listened! First, I love Karen Hesse's style and have read at least one other book by her. I like that her books have relatable and lovable characters and that they read rather quickly. I loved that something Nyle was so afraid of ended up being something she loved very fiercely toward the end of the book. I loved the progression of Nyle and Ezra's relationship and I found myself on pins and needles at the end of the book when Ezra's ...more
Aug 25, 2007 Jules rated it really liked it
This book was a guilty pleasure of mine for years. The secret part of you who longs for a disaster to happen so you can go help people to make yourself a useful, charitable person will like this book.

It's the story of a girl who lives near a nuclear power plant. There's an accident, and her family must take in a survivor who's essentially dying of leukemia. As fate would have it, this survivor happens to be a young boy who is just what this girl is not looking for, someone to help her realize wh
Apr 09, 2009 Josiah rated it really liked it
I might actually give this book four and a half stars. It is kind of hard for me to review it, as I see it as such a masterful story that I'm afraid I will not do it full justice.
Karen Hesse just blew me away in these pages, coupling multiple storylines that are all equally compelling and heartrending. The pacing is quiet and perhaps understated, but the emotions all ring true and very powerfully, throughout the entire book all the way to the breathtakingly engineered climax and ending. No pr
Feb 06, 2012 Jeannie rated it really liked it
I can't give it 5 stars because I have issues with authors who use children's literature to push their political agendas. The story of love and loss and learning to let go captured my heart, but Hesse spoiled some of the magic with her sometimes not subtle political preaching. I got through those passages by looking through my science fiction lenses. I don't even know whether I completely disagree with her. I just didn't like so much of it in the story. Some was necessary to make the setting rea ...more
Oct 11, 2015 Wilson rated it really liked it
The tragedies of accidents are often ingrained in their events. When reading the news, we can understand the gravity of the situation, but we often forget about each individual that was affected, and how each of their lives would be impacted. In this sense, Phoenix Rising takes a large-scale disaster and zooms in on the individual level. In a fictional storyline, but real setting, Karen Hesse starts off by depicting a nuclear accident in Cookshire. A nuclear fallout ensues, and the story is the ...more
Apr 20, 2015 Poop1 rated it liked it
Snyle lives in a nice place until the accident happened. She is gets ready for school by putting her radiation mask on. Her world he lives in is cruel and harsh conditions. Snyle family is her just her grandmother. Her grandmother loves her a lot while but every one she knows is getting sick of the radiation outside. But her world changes when her grand mom passes away and then she not only haft to take care of herself but a person who is dying because of the radiation in the area. While she is ...more
Jul 29, 2011 Snoko rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 25, 2014 Tristan rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, childrens
Actual rating 3.75 stars

This was a very good novel about the power of love and the importance of letting go. I really liked Nyle's interactions with Ezra, especially the way she motivated him to move on and get better, but still understood that he would,eventually have to leave. I was not surprised by the ending at all; this was another Chekhov's gun ending; elements were introduced very early that could only be important for the way the novel ended. I thought that the themes of acceptance that
Feb 12, 2008 Rebecca rated it liked it
I am currently on one of my reading sprees. One every two days. This was by the same author as A Time of Angels. Another historical fiction novel that was a quick read. Gives you a picture of what living in a nuclear age can do to people. Good book.
Oct 03, 2007 Lizzette rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
This book is really sad, and it's about a girl named Nyle who her Mom, and grandfather died. Her dad disappered, and when she decides to care about someone else they also die.
Jan 23, 2016 Lauren rated it liked it
I liked this book. I feel like if I were a bit younger, I would love it more. I didn't like how the book constantly repeated that Ezra was alive. Yes. We know he is alive. We knew it the first 50 times it was said. I think the ending was very sweet, with Nyle finally getting to touch Ezra's face. I wish they had shared a kiss, but still, it was a really cute story. Needed less repetition, included a lot of useless information that didn't add to the story, and sometimes didn't include enough info ...more
Aug 26, 2008 Katie rated it it was amazing
I've had this book for nearly 15 years and I've read it dozens of times. And each and every time...I sob. Amazing book.
Oct 16, 2008 Erin rated it really liked it
A cautionary tale about the dangers of nuclear power. Trite and preachy at times but with a touching story line.
Apr 09, 2016 Erin rated it really liked it
After reading about Chernobyl and the Fukushima disaster and the atomic bomb drop on Nagasaki, I found myself thinking back to this book that I read when I was a kid. It's a good fictional look at what would happen in nuclear disaster struck the eastern United States. I loved the characters; I love Nyle's grandma and Ezra Trent is memorable enough to have me returning to this book 20 years later. Radiation poisoning is terrible and yet, even in the face of certain tragedy, we humans do our best ...more
May 24, 2016 Sara rated it liked it
Shelves: written-by-women
Oh, I remember SOBBING at this book. I've always had a little squick about nuclear fallout, about radiation sickness and related topics, which is probably why I've always devoured books about real-life nuclear disasters and near misses (see: me insisting to everyone that Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety is TOTALLY WORTH IT U GUISE) and books and movies in which nuclear radiation and its dangers figure strongly (my recent revisits of Seveneve ...more
Julia Brumfield
Nov 06, 2015 Julia Brumfield rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, book
I remember reading this child when I was younger but at that time it didn't really do any fireworks for me. The majority that I could remember was that there was a dying room and the cover, which is interesting in and of itself. And so when I was presented with this book again I chose to buy it while it has begged me to read it in the last few days without letting up.

First of all the story is generic for young adults but also a fast yet easy read that will grasp your attention from page one to
Jun 29, 2011 Kenny rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 09, 2012 Giselle rated it it was amazing
Phoenix Rising by Karen Hesse follows the story of a young girl named Nyle who lives in an area that is threatened by the presence of the Cookshire power plant. Soon her life instantly changes after an intense accident occurs, and she finds herself having to wear gas masks, worry about food, and fear for the health of her life. While adjusting to this new life, she finds herself helping a boy named Ezra and his mother and they are brought into her home because they are refugees. She feels as tho ...more
Aug 15, 2012 Jack rated it liked it
Perhaps you would see the character of a farmer who is endeavoring, brave, and passionate about what they do, but it has only yet to be ruined by a nuclear disaster. In this book, it is about a young girl named Nyle who lives the life of a farmer with her grandmother and suffers through a nuclear catastrophe that contaminated all her crops and has been a health hazard to both her and her grandmother. Refugee's that seek to find shelter from the nuclear accident layabout in the back bedroom of Ny ...more
Jun 11, 2013 Karen rated it liked it
Phoenix Rising, by Newbery award winning author Karen Hesse, is a story about a young girl, Nyle, whose life is changed by a nuclear power plant disaster in her town. Nyle and her grandmother live on a farm outside of town, and even though their farm was not hurt by the disaster, their lives were still touched forever. Nyle and her grandmother take in refugees from the disaster, who stay in the back bedroom of their house. It is a room that Nyle associates with death, and she fears it will happe ...more
Oct 25, 2012 Christina rated it it was amazing
This realistic fiction book is based on an accident that happened at a nuclear power plant, and how it affected the lives of many people, especially Nyle and her grandmother. Nyle's grandmother took in Ezra and his mother, who are two of the accident's survivors. How does the community, especially Nile and her Grandmother, deal with the consequences of this nuclear accident? Does Ezra and his Mom fight the side effects of this nuclear accident? Read this book to find out!

I gave this book 5 stars
Lucy Takeda
Sep 22, 2015 Lucy Takeda rated it really liked it
I cared about the characters, that demonstrated change and were well developed. The novel includes teenage angst, radiation poisoning, grandparents raising kids, cancer, bullying, and folks fighting to survive, It fits in well with my philosophy that you don't know what you are capable of until you have to face challenges. I could pretty much predict what was going to happen next, which is why it is 4 rather than 5. Engaging, but not a " fun" read.
Aug 28, 2014 Shaleh rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pg, romance, teen
This is a really good book, very well written, but very sad.

How I loved Ezra! He was so flawed, and yet absolutely awesome. You'll love him too, if you read it!

As for Nyle, she never states her personality. She doesn't say: "I'm girly" or "smart". She just lets you figure things out on your own. You'll find that she's strong, independent, and protective, while still being weak deep inside, dependent, and wishing for a protector.


Oh Ezra...
Jeff Crosby
Jan 31, 2014 Jeff Crosby rated it it was amazing
Like her later, Newberry Award-winning "Out of the Dust" on the Dust Bowl era Southern Plains, Karen Hesse's "Phoenix Rising" is a young adult novel portraying believable and largely endearing characters grappling with profound questions as they are impacted by events beyond the scope of their control - this time, contamination of their New England homes and farms resulting from a nuclear accident. Hesse has tremendous facility with her words, and packs a great deal into relatively few pages.
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Karen Hesse is an American author of children's literature and literature for young adults, often with historical settings. Her novel Out of the Dust was the winner of the 1998 Newbery Medal and the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. In 2002, Hesse was a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship.

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