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Long Story Short

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  157 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
From Ireland's first laureate for children's literature comes a story of abuse and neglect told with sincerity, heart, and a healthy dose of humor.

Jono has always been able to cope with his mother's drinking, but when she hits his little sister Julie, he decides it's time for them to run away. Told in Jono's funny, self-conscious voice, the layers of his past and the event
ebook, 160 pages
Published June 21st 2011 by Roaring Brook Press (first published May 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30)
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Margaret Madden
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Summary: Jonathan (Jono) and Julie's mother might as well be nonexistent. She sleeps through the day, goes out to drink at night and then comes home to pass out. Jono is in charge of Julie since he is 8 years her senior. It isn't too bad, except when their mom forgets to get their government check for food or if she spends it all on booze. But then their mother goes one step too far- she hits Julie. Jono cannot take the thought of being separa
It's not a bad story, and true, it is nice and short--often a big selling point with teen readers; but it's just way too Irish, too foreign, for the average American reluctant reader.

People that can get past all the chip shops, dole checks, garda, steak and kidney pies, and bejaysus may enjoy the devotion Jonathan feels for his 8-year-old sister Julie and be suitably horrified when their drunk of a mother strikes Julie when she complains about only apples for dinner and marks her so completely t
Sep 17, 2012 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The strength of 14-year-old Jono's voice is what sells this story. From the beginning, his awareness of the uses and malleability of narrative forms hints that he might be an unreliable narrator. We never lose sight of the fact that we are grounded in Jono's interpretation of events, a position that creates an intense empathy for him. The story does falter slightly in Part II, when his omission of several events becomes clear. The presence of a gap in the timeline could have been made explicit t ...more
Kiona Zomers
Long story short is about a boy (Jonathan) whose mom who gets drunk all the time, and one day the mom hits the little sister (Julie). Now they want to run away. I really didn't like this book. I normally like books like this, but it was really confusing. The book jumps back and forth, like one chapter it will be in the present then the next chapter will be one of Jonathan's memories. I really don't like books that do that. I actually only like books that are always in the present, but if you don ...more
Angelina Justice
Nov 17, 2011 Angelina Justice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
This is a great read for any audience, but is presented, successfully, from a male perspective. The plot is not new, and is based on a far too frequent reality. This is a good piece of realistic fiction that looks at the chain of events that culminates in two children running away from the neglect and abuse that has reached a crisis point.

The older child, a fourteen year old boy, is telling us the story in bursts and fits. The narration becomes a little too fragmented sometimes, but not so much
Jono struggles to take care of his little sister, Julie, and his alcoholic mom. Although he's still a kid himself, he does a pretty good job of keeping things going at home and covering up for the lack of an adult in his life. But when his mom finally goes too far and hits Julie Jono knows he's got to do something. Initially he dismisses Julie's idea to run away but finally decides that it's their only option.
Things quickly go downhill and Jono finds himself in police custody. What's the deal?
Well, I had to give it a 2, instead of a 1, because although I want to dislike it, it was ok.
Jono has always been able to cope with his mother's drinking, but when she hits his little sister Julie, he decides it's time for them to run away. (Haha, direct from GR).
And along the way he gets accused of murder and what-not. Sad when people don't believe in the truth :(

I liked Jono's character a lot, and also the style of writing (very personal with the character) but something about the story made m
May 18, 2011 Elsa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good story of a 14 year old boy who has to be the adult in his dysfunctional family. His mom is a falling down drunk, dad's gone and his gramma has recently died so he is the only one who cares for his little sister. His mom hits the girl one day in a drunken rage so he takes her and they run away from home. It is nice to read a story like this though, where, while the system has failed these kids, they do end up with caring people who can help them.
Nov 18, 2011 Sheryl rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am so confused after reading this. 14 year old Jonathan is on the run with his eight year old sister after their mom hits Julie. Next thing you know he is accused of murdering his mother and has robbed a store. This seemed to come out of nowhere and was not resolved by the end of the book. The plot was very disjointed and I am disappointed as I truly thought I would enjoy this book based on the description.
May 17, 2016 Jools rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good quick read that will grab some younger teens, probably for 12 to 15 years. A teenager 'rescues' his 8 year old sister from their downward spiraling alcoholic mother. Their grandmother was the glue that kept them going, but now she has died it is really clear that their mother is not capable of looking after them. And now she has become violent. Terrified that social services will separate them, Jonathan decides the only answer is to run away.
Oct 10, 2011 Jess rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
A bleak story and an unreliable narrator. It's hard going into a story knowing the narrator is unreliable, because you're constantly on the lookout for signs of deception. I picked this up after reading reviews, partly because the characters go to Galway and partly to see if it felt more tween or teen (answer: teen). I'd recommend this to teens who like books that feel a bit unsettled and gritty.
Feb 24, 2012 Ariel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed parts of the book, but there seems to be no closure. There wasn't enough justice done to Jono, I wasn't really satisfied with the ending.

Of course parts of the book I liked. The part where Jono had told the adults that they were worse than his mother who had hit Julie. Which I found true.

The book seemed too short and did not have much happenings along the way, much was not elaborated on either.
Emily Bailey
This book isn't exactly the sweet little runaway story you might expect. Jono takes off with his little sister after their alcoholic mother hits his sister. Jono wants the best for his sister and this story tells the tale of how he decides what will be best and shows what he does. I wish it were a longer story and I could have learned more about how it ends, but I enjoyed it just the same.
Jun 24, 2012 Ricki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jonathan's dad has moved away, and his mother is an alcoholic. After one too many abusive nights, he sets off on a "trip" with his younger sister, Julie. Author Siobhan Parkinson was named the first laureate for children's literature in Ireland, and this short book is sure to engage readers who enjoy realistic tales and don't mind a little Irish slang!
Tenille Shade
This was a tough story to read. The child abuse and violence was difficult to swallow, and the connection of the siblings broke my heart. I fell in love with Juno, and the mother's death came as a shock to me. I liked how the main character referenced what he had learned about writing from his English teacher. Quick read, and worth my time.
Sep 30, 2013 JoAnn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book a lot. It was weird, and truly a long story short. It had an air of mystery to it, and I actually really liked how it ended even though it was kind of weird. The whole book was really weird and I liked it. It kind of left me feeling confused, but in a good way. I don't even know how to describe it because it was just weird.
Sep 11, 2013 Conor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought that this book was at the beginning a very easy read, that was predictable and not extremely interesting or original. The minute I started part two, I knew instantly that I was going to love this book, the twist is so powerful that it could not have been saw coming and it turned a book that I would have rated a low four, to a 91/2 out of ten!
Intrigued by the (British? Irish?) expression for things taking a turn for the worse "going all pear-shaped." Wikipedia has some interesting theories as to the origin of this phrase:
A well told story about a teen boy with the weight of the whole world on his shoulders. It simply breaks my heart that kids have to go through this kind of thing. Why can't parents just take care of their children?
Jun 14, 2013 VJ rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, ya, death, family
The grandmother dies, Mom's a basket case, Dad is not in the picture when a 14- and 8-year old lam outta there only to end up in foster care.

This story rambles to me. It is confused, as is the protagonist.

I wonder how many young adults liked this one . . ..
Jul 09, 2011 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good recommendation for younger teen guys & reluctant readers who prefer realistic stories of survival and grit. A fast, fairy easy read that's got great dialogue, with an Irish twist.
Jun 19, 2013 Lowri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
really good, but in my opinion the ending was not the best. but awesome story line and i loved the characters and drama. very good.
Lara Johnson
I can't remember when I started/finished this one, but I thought it was a great story. I passed it along to my son to read.
I loved Jono! This was a really quick read and reminded me a lot of locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson.
Ashley Gay
Ashley Gay rated it it was amazing
Mar 02, 2015
Camryn rated it it was ok
Aug 25, 2011
Megan rated it liked it
Dec 22, 2012
Shannon rated it it was amazing
Jul 08, 2012
Julie rated it it was ok
Mar 21, 2012
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Siobhán Parkinson is an Irish writer for both children and adults. Siobhán grew up in Galway and Donegal. Her books have won numerous awards and have been translated into several languages. She is currently a co-editor of Bookbird, the magazine of international children's literature organsation IBBY. She resides in The Republic of Ireland with her husband Roger Bennett and son Matthew.
More about Siobhán Parkinson...

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