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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  379 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Don't call her Matilda. Her name is Matt. And don't even think about getting close to her. She doesn't need anyone. Can't you tell by looking at her, dressed all in black with a spider painted on her face and her ice-cold stare? But most of all, do not bully her. She has been through it all already. But everything changes for fourteen-year-old Matt when she moves in with p ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published June 21st 2007 by Philomel
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Fourteen-year-old Matt (Matilda) is a Goth, but that's partially a pose to keep the world away. She uses her look, and her humor — a knife-like sarcasm — to avoid making connections and taking action. But she finds at her new home that the parents, in particular the father Sam, are devout Quakers and activists engaged in the anti-Iraq war movement. As she moves closer to Sam, those same beliefs lead to her harassment at school by a big mouth bully and a pro-war civics teacher. As the title sugge ...more
Why I picked it up: I'm fairly certain it's the only non-historical YA book with Quaker characters that I have seen.

Matt (don't call her Mattie, and absolutely don't call her Matilda) had a pretty bad home life as a young kid. She's lived with different relatives since then, but none seem to stick for long. She's on her “last chance” with distant relatives Sam & Jessica. Matt just wants to graduate early and move to Canada, but her new family seems to genuinely like her, which has her a bit
for me this book is all about beliefs. not necessarily religious beliefs. but rather believing in something and fighting for it in whichever way you can without hurting or stepping on another human being.

matt is a girl who has been through a lot of hardships in life. being beaten by his dad, seeing her mom die, being from one family to another, one school to another and being bullied in every school that she goes to. but then matt came to live with this family, the foxes who are quakers (people
Mary Frances
This is a great book for young adults, and for the adults who come across it. The story of a troubled teenage girl who has been bounced from one foster home to another, it's also about love and learning to trust. The book rises above the average due to its setting and theme- a Quaker family dealing with the "war fever" that swept over many Americans post-911. It raises questions about what it means to be patriotic, and what it means to stand up for one's beliefs. My only regret is that it came o ...more
Luan Eduardo
The story is good, I really like the way that the author changed from a story about Matt (the main character) to a fight between pro-war and anti-war and this last subject, which came along with Quaker religion, were a really new thing to me in books, being extremely out of cliché.
The plot is really incredible but something is missing... I found myself inside two stories, two plots, the Matt's life and troubled childhood and the now Matt which is passing through all this and creating the courage
Amazing book. Withdrawn girl sent to live with foster family who happen to be Quakers, she learns much about standing up for one's beliefs without being a bully. Learns to overcome bullying at her school where everyone is very scarily militant over how we should stay in Iraq and keep fighting this pointless war, and she learns to love her foster family too.
Cassie Cox
This book is full of so many great lessons. Lessons of love, forgiveness, understanding, courage, friendship, acceptance, defining family, and more. Young Matilda (Matt) is sent to live with a family of Quakers--new town, new school, new bullies. From the very beginning of the book Matt settles in to dealing with life the way she always has. Push people away. Don't trust. Don't get too close because people always hurt you. They leave you. They always let you down.

"Quaking" was a great story from
Mathilda has lived in a number of foster homes ever since her mom died. She has often been the subject of bullying at school. As a result, she is not very fond of school even though she is very smart. Her latest foster home is with a Quaker couple, who are peace advocates. This is not a popular viewpoint with the Iraq war going on. Anyone that is not for the war is considered a traitor. The author provides an interesting story about a young girl dealing with difficult circumstances and the diffi ...more
Andrea Wall
This is a simple book. It is not deep. It is maybe not another book someone else would place of their favourite shelf. Yet, I found myself loving this book. I adore Matt. I loved the writing style. I even cried, and I haven't had a tear-worthy book in awhile.

The issues in this book are real to me. I've given some thought to them, so a book that was not long boring or over-complicated about it was great. How do other countries view the U.S.?

She also focuses on the subject of bullying and I thin
Emily S.
It seemed kind of interesting at first because I thought they could have written a really good story from looking at the plot. As I continued reading it got less and less interesting and it was like a chore to read it. I think the only reason I continued reading this book was because I thought that the writer would have something happen so it got more interesting. That never happened. I guess she tried to make it interesting at the end, because something kind of big did happen there (i’m not go ...more
I received the paperback edition of this book for free through the FirstReads program, and the cover is absolutely gorgeous - different from what's currently shown on the book's page here. The paperback cover is so eye-catching and beautiful, the sort of artwork that'd catch my eye if I were browsing in a bookstore.

After being bounced around from one foster family to another, Matt (short for Matilda) lands with her distant relatives, Jessica and Sam, who happen to be Quakers. Though there's now
Brooke R. Busse
First of all, the voice in this book is amazing. The POV character, Matt, has a rather dry humor and is brutally honest. Her life has been hard and she accepts that. She knows there is no easy way out. The author portrays this by never using a contraction.

Second, the character growth in this story is remarkable, as it should be, this being the main focus and goal of the book. It is wonderful to follow Matt's transformation, both through her inner strength and her relationship with her makeshift
A few things about this book, in no particularly coherent order. It is written in first person, present tense narrative, but for once it isn't distracting - the only thing about her writing I didn't care for was an odd aversion to contractions, which may have been meant to reflect something about the character narrating, but if so I didn't get it. Other than that, it's very well-written and the author does a solid job of character development. The protagonist is a cynical 14-year-old with a roug ...more
Apr 10, 2010 Shaya rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: teens who like emotionally raw realistic fiction
I read this straight through on a day when I had a cold and just wanted to curl up on the couch. There are many books in the realistic fiction genre that are similar to this one but I really liked Matt's (short for Matilda) voice and the Quaker aspects. Quaking reminds me of Speak, but personally I think Quaking is more intersting.

The book is set in the near future when the US is fighting against terrorism in the Middle East and in towns all over many people are taking up the "you're with us or
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Julie M. Prince for

How can you not love a book that starts like this:

"Families come in all varieties but with no warranties. I have lived with first cousins twice removed, second cousins once removed, and now a third cousin who is removing herself. I call her Loopy. Because of her large earrings. And because she is insane.

Loopy drives like a ten-year-old car thief on a sugar high."

From the very beginning, Matt (not Mattie, and certainly not Matilda) has a chip on
Fourteen-year-old Matt has made a few wrong turns in her life. For years Matt, whose real name is Matilda but don’t you ever call her that, has been bouncing around from distant family member to distant family member while pushing her limits every time. Now Matt is at her final stop. Her cousin, Loopy, has found a distant cousin of her own who will take Matt in. Sam and Jessica Fox are a little different than who Matt was expecting. Sam and Jessica are practicing Quakers. Matt looks like your av ...more
There was so much I loved about Quaking -- Matt's voice, Quakers, the questions like what is patriotism -- but somehow I didn't believe Matt. She's tough and tries to be unfeeling, but can't stand up to bullies. Over and over she describes her M.O. for survival, which is to not draw attention to herself. Really, with a spider drawn on her face? I see how the Goth look works to keep people at arm's length, but it IS going to draw attention.

Many of the details were pitch perfect, for example when
Kathryn Erskine has become one of my favorite middle grade/YA authors. It’s pure genius when an author writes a character so beautifully and so perfect that you literally feel you are inside their skin feeling every fear, every sorrow, every emotion they feel. For me, Katherine Erskine is one of those authors who can do that so flawlessly.

Her novel Mockingbird was genius, this book is genius, and if you haven’t read her latest, Seeing Red, well, it’s genius also. Can’t wait to read the one book
West Region,
Quaking by Kathryn Erskine

In Southern California we all know about quaking.
When everything starts to shake we might pause for a second or two to see if it is going to last, and then dive under a table or desk and ride it out. You probably started preparing for this kind of quake when you were just little kids.

But for 14-year-old Matt, (don’t ever call her Matilda), quaking has nothing to do with the earth shaking.
For Matt, there are the seemingly minor quakes, like the ones that happen when you
E.A. West
Quaking is a great story told from the perspective of Matt, a troubled fourteen-year-old girl. Ms. Erskine did a marvelous job of capturing the emotions and reasoning of a foster child. The story also gives a true look at the Quaker religion and how the silent meeting is viewed by a non-Quaker kid.

As the small Pennsylvania town is torn apart by the war in Iraq, Matt quietly stands up to a warmongering teacher and promotes peace. Her silent stance doesn’t improve her predicament with a bully refe
I enjoyed this book, but felt that Erskine's characters were a little too simple. It seemed like all the good guys were always good, and all the bad guys were always bad - throughout the entire book. I would have liked to have seen some more internal conflict in the characters. Even Matt is on the "right" side of the issue at the beginning. I think it would have been more interesting if she had struggled with her opinion a little bit more rather than just struggling with her ability to express h ...more
This was the perfect book for me to re-enter the literary world of Young Adult fiction. I love the way Erskine develops the protagonist. Matt turns from a scary, angry, insecure fourteen-year old into a brave, loyal, and loving person. I particularly treasured the interactions between Matt and her adoptive parents--Sam and Jessica. The wit and sarcasm are noteworthy. Finally, Erskine's injection of the theme of pacifism is done with tact whereby never turning preachy or too didactic.
Lydia LaPutka
I like Kathryn Erskine's style. I can't really put it into words, but her sense of humor and writing style suit me. Character development is done well through behavior, conversation, and snippets, not one big paragraph of explanation. I like that. The characters in Quaking are memorable and strong. It's easy to root for the good guys and hope for the worst for the bad guys.

I think most people can relate to this story because everyone has experienced that fear that a bully provokes. Everyone has
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Janine Darragh
An interesting read that provides some information on Quakers, anti-bullying, and conflict resolution. I enjoyed the characters in the book and the storyline. I'm not sure why this book was categorized under Eating Disorders? The main character, Matt, does have trouble eating-- but I felt like this was more from her anxiety, the abuse she has experienced, and her moving from foster home to foster home. (Once she is more comfortable with her new family, she seems to eat more). What I really liked ...more
Kathryn Erskine is one of my new favorite YA authors- her books hit so hard, and I can't put them down. She knows her characters so well, and that's really amazing- there aren't caricatures of people here. Even the history teacher could have been, but he had depth to him too. Matt's story is not one of some troubled girl with a troubled past who is put through the foster care system. That would have been a story to tell about her, and it would have been cliche. But KE brings all of Matt's histor ...more
Jenni Frencham
Matt's been shuttled from relative to relative ever since she was a kid. When she's sent to her last possible stop - a Quaker couple who are distant relatives - she's not sure she wants to open up or commit to this family. But when the nonviolent ways of her new family conflict with her uber-patriotic civics teacher, Matt has to decide what's most important - staying invisible or standing up for what you believe in.

I enjoyed this book, especially for its discussion of Quakers, but I was a bit su
Thorn MotherIssues
A YA novel about an abused teen who bounces from home to home before ending up in kinship care with two young Quaker peace activists should have been right up my alley, but parts of the story were too pat to be convincing. Maybe if this had come out before November's election when change of a sort seemed possible I'd have been more willing to go along with the rash of hate crimes and the corrupt school system groupthink, but that along with the conveniently unspecified developmental delay of the ...more
A. Kuhlii
Erskine created some great characters and a good portrayal of trauma from abuse and healing from those experiences. I also loved learning about Quaker history and practices. Two things did bug me, though:
1) the two-dimensional portrayal of unsympathetic, pro-war characters. Most people who are bullies and espouse fascist beliefs are not also physically ugly, ogre-like and lacking any redeeming qualities.

2) Matt's extremely stilted voice. I know this writing style was probably intentional, to s
I'm not sure I completely buy the realism of the protagonist's voice, but this is a very compelling story. A very bright child of an abusive parent, Matilda (called Matt) gets moved from family member to family member after after her mother dies. She finds a home with a young Quaker couple who help her learn to voice her own opinions on violence, aggression, and seeking peace.

Matt is a character I'd love to get inside of more, but I feel like her voice comes across more like something an adult w
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Kathryn Erskine spent many years as a lawyer before realizing that she'd rather write things that people might actually enjoy reading.
She grew up mostly overseas and attended eight different schools, her favorite being the Hogwarts-type castle in Scotland.
The faculty, of course, did not consist of wizards, although... how did the headmistress know that it was the wee redhead who led the campaign
More about Kathryn Erskine...
Mockingbird The Absolute Value of Mike Seeing Red The Badger Knight Passarinha

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