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Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,384 Ratings  ·  1,126 Reviews
Not only is Turner Buckminster the son of the new minister in a small Maine town, he is shunned for playing baseball differently than the local boys. Then he befriends smart and lively Lizzie Bright Griffin, a girl from Malaga Island, a poor community founded by former slaves. Lizzie shows Turner a new world along the Maine coast from digging clams to rowing a boat next to ...more
Paperback, 219 pages
Published April 25th 2006 by Yearling (first published May 24th 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Andrea
Apr 22, 2016 Andrea added it
Alright...I have so much to say about this book...this is a winner, a really good book. Excellent. My first Printz Award book for this class. More soon.

Okay..Here's the "more soon" part. This book won the Printz Award, and I really like how they describe their criteria for literary excellence and quality on their website by what it is not. For example, a book is not quality simply by being popular. Although, of course, the two are not mutually exclusive. This book does not look to me like it was
...more
Tracy
Nov 21, 2008 Tracy rated it it was ok
a little boring
Slow beginning and middle. Picks up a little in the last 1/4, but not enough to make up for the other 3/4. The book tries to teach a message, but it takes so long in getting there that its a little bit anti-climatic once it does come.
Katie Ziegler (Life Between Words)
Oh boy. Gary Schmidt. I thought maybe Orbiting Jupiter was his most tragic book...but no. In terms of sadness and tragedy, this one throws that one out of the water. And I was not expecting that. I thought going in that it was going to be a sweet story of a summertime friendship taking place at the turn of the century - and it is in part, but if that's how I were to actually describe the book to someone...well, I'd be lying. That description hardly says *anything* about the book. Because it's no ...more
Kyle
Dec 01, 2012 Kyle rated it it was amazing
I was forced to take a moment and catch my breath after I closed this book. I needed to gather myself, order my thoughts, and reflect on everything I had just read. The best part about it? I will still need to do so for a long time to come. I can already predict the amount of "staying power" this book will have upon my mind, and the thought makes me smile.

I will be able to categorize every YA book, from here on out, into two categories: The YA books I've read before this book, and the YA books I
...more
Isha R
Oct 25, 2013 Isha R rated it did not like it
WORST BOOK EVER. A lot of repetition and slow paced plot events. Too much confusing whale metaphors. It was overall boring and it just wasn't intriguing. It was the book that did not really pull you in and you just wanted to abandon it. If you are looking for a historical fiction book, don't read this one. I would give it one star.
Tiff
Mar 24, 2008 Tiff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone ages 12 and up who can appreciate a well-written, touching tale
Wow. This was an incredibly written, heartbreaking tale. I absolutely loved it. I listened to it on CD while traveling, and so many times I wanted to pull my car over, rewind, and write down a quote from the book. The writing was just amazing. What more can I say.
Emily
Nov 08, 2013 Emily rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-fiction
Oh Gary D. Schmidt-how do I love thee, let me count the ways.

1. Wonderful insight into boys who really try to be good. Even better in this book with all of poor Turners mishaps
2. His love of the arts and the influence they can have for good in lives both young and old
3. Connection with nature
4. Constant exploration of how the young are the ones who are still innocent enough to try harder, especially with treating people right.
5. Belief in the innate goodness of most people, even if it takes most
...more
Allyson Faith
Feb 23, 2008 Allyson Faith rated it it was amazing
This is a young adult novel that I've been hearing about for the last year. It is remarkable, and I now wish I'd read it earlier. I want everyone I know to read it --it's that good. It's set in 1912 in a small town in Maine. The main character is the teenage son of a minister who has a new job in this town--so this boy, Turner, his father and mother move from Boston to Maine. Turner doesn't hit it off with the local boys, but one day when beachcombing he meets Lizzie Bright--one of the young Afr ...more
Lars Guthrie
May 16, 2010 Lars Guthrie rated it it was amazing
In 'The Wednesday Wars', Schmidt visited the Vietnam War era. Here he goes back to 1912, just as successfully. But calling 'Lizzie Bright' an historical novel, though it is based on real events, is too limiting.

Like 'Wednesday Wars,' it's about a boy growing up and beyond his father, helped along by a spunky girl and some wise women. Unlike that book, though, it's not completely about finding happy endings. The town of Phippsburg, Maine, did evict the black settlers of neighboring Malaga Island
...more
Jessica
I'm sorry to say I didn't like this book at all. It wasn't terrible, I just found it terribly boring. I actually fell asleep twice while reading it, and almost fell asleep a bunch more times throughout. I think it's just Gary Schmidt's writing style. I've never been very fond of overly descriptive narration. At least half of this book is just description, and most of it not essential description, or at least it felt like it to me. I also didn't like the ending. I understand that this book was ba ...more
Linda Hart
Mar 28, 2015 Linda Hart rated it it was amazing
I loved everything about this book and have added Gary D. Smith to my favorite authors list. This is coming-of-age historical fiction at is best, with gorgeous lyrical writing and heart-wrenching emotional reactions. The various themes and conflicts are delicately and deftly presented and handled. Schmidt not only has a remarkable way with words, but his characters almost seem to leap from his book because they are so real. A compelling and powerful read, it will stay with me long after I closed ...more
D.C.
Jul 28, 2014 D.C. rated it did not like it
I feel snobbish for giving this book such a low rating. Let's just say that this is probably the best 1-star book I will ever rate. It's got wonderful wit, great writing, real characters, numbing poignancy… I could just go on and on. At one moment, I actually wanted to scream out loud and let the tears flow because I wasn't sure how much more of the poignancy and getting angry at fictional characters I could take. But here's my quibble. Why in the world did Schmidt feel the need to introduce the ...more
Gigi
Aug 23, 2015 Gigi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love the simple artistry of this book. It has all the elements that I love in a good book: distinct characters, acute and vivid description of geography, and redemption.

Here is a sampling of the poetic language Schmidt used to weave this tale of deep sorrow and deep friendship...

The world turns and the world spins, the tide runs in and the time runs out, and there is nothing in the world more beautiful and more wonderful in all its evolved forms than two souls who look at each other straight
...more
Kerry
Nov 01, 2015 Kerry rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kristin
Nov 11, 2010 Kristin rated it it was ok
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster boy was definitely a cute book. The characters were mostly stock characters though, which was disappointing. The main character, Turner, learns a lot from his father, his mother, Darwin, and the girl he meets on Malaga Island, Lizzie Bright. He learns to stand up for himself, even when it went against his parents' wishes. The theme of racism is very strong in this book, and Turner aims to fight the racism of the town elders, but ultimately fails. This book is tr ...more
Lisa
Nov 03, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: book club
Turner Buckminster moves to Maine when his father takes a position as a minister in Phippsburg in the early 1900's. Turner becomes friends with Lizzie Bright who is from a poor island community founded by former slaves. As he develops relationships with Lizzie and others from the town, he faces prejudice and other social difficulties. It is interesting to watch the growth of the characters as they face adversity. While the book addresses some tough topics, it also has its lighter moments as well ...more
Emma
Mar 26, 2010 Emma rated it it was amazing
Turner Buckminster has lived in Phippsburg, Maine for almost six whole hours. He has dipped his hands in its waves, smelled the sharp scent of its pine trees. He has looked out at the sea. Turner has even seen the clapboard parsonage beside the church his father will minister now that they are no longer in Boston and the small house beyond whose function he could not yet fathom (and soon enough would not believe).

Six whole hours in Maine.

He didn't know how much longer he could stand it.

After a d
...more
Kristine
Mar 02, 2010 Kristine rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kristine by: Trent Mikesell
This was a really good book. I really really liked it. After I read the book the author's note at the end said it was based on a true story!!! Made the ending even sadder!

This is the story of a minister's family who moves from Boston to small-town Maine at the turn of the century. There is some conflict between the town and the residents of a nearby island . . . but this book is so much more than that.

The only thing that kept it from a 5 star is that I think in most situations of conflict ther
...more
Jessica
May 29, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Shelves: award-winners
I did not intend to like this book, I must admit. The hardcover cover illustration was . . . well, off-putting for me, and I'm really glad they did something new, because this is a book not to be missed. Based on true events, it's the story of a preacher's son who befriends a free black girl, on the eve of her community being destroyed to make way for a resort. Yep, a New England community of freed slaves and their children were ousted from their homes so that the view wouldn't be spoiled. But m ...more
Cynthia Egbert
Jun 12, 2015 Cynthia Egbert rated it liked it
I wanted to love this book, I was prepared to love this book, but the author made some choices that caused me to merely like this book. I did not understand or appreciate the use of demonizing of religion and the use of Darwinism as a device to suddenly change the demeanor of the heavy handed father felt clumsy to me. That being said, Mr. Schmidt does use a great story line to remind us of some frightening attitudes that once (I hope in the past) prevailed in this country. He took an ugly true m ...more
Penny
Dec 29, 2014 Penny rated it liked it
A bright three-and-a-half stars.

I am quickly becoming a fan of Gary D. Schmidt. He has a way of creating memorable, authentic characters that I end up really caring about and makes them navigate circumstances that could easily overwhelm them. Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy is no exception. I find myself charmed by the practical, brave and warm-hearted Lizzie Bright Griffin and the slightly naive, stronger-than-he-knows Turner Buckminster.

This book has layers. There is the story itself: ab
...more
Elizabeth Andrew
Sep 24, 2014 Elizabeth Andrew rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids
This was the most stunningly beautiful kids' book I've read in ages! Why isn't it more well known? Well, here's my theory: Because Turner Buckminster's story is essentially about finding God in the natural world and in ordinary, beloved friendship that defies race and culture. This isn't exactly the stuff of popular literature.

Schmidt's story has a lot of flaws (the lack of back-story for Tucker's parents and the flatness of the evil characters, to name two) but the exceptionally lyrical descrip
...more
Nicole Chase
Oct 10, 2015 Nicole Chase rated it really liked it
Wow, this was good. And infuriating. And heartbreaking. I laughed, yelled, and cried in turn. I loved the way the sea breeze is itself a character, and how much a few of the human characters surprised me.

My biggest complaint is that I found myself wishing to hear parts of this story from the perspective of Mrs. Buckminster, or Mrs. Cobb, or, most of all, Lizzie Bright herself.

For the Pop Sugar Challenge, this was my "book that makes you cry."
Stephen Lee
Jun 19, 2014 Stephen Lee rated it it was amazing
This is a story about a pastor's son who wants to leave to an unknown world and a negro girl who lives in an island that will be destroyed soon. This is a story based on real history. It is a tragic but beautiful story that shows friendship and true love. It is really sorrowful but has beautiful friendship between two of them. That makes me feel sad.

Turner was a son of a pastor. His family moved to Maine. He had to be nice and perfect because he was a pastor's son. And there was a negro girl L
...more
Karen Helgesen
Sep 05, 2014 Karen Helgesen rated it it was amazing
From its delightful folk art cover (the one pictured here is not the one on my issue) to the last line of this exquisite but disturbing tale, this book tells of hope in the face of overt racism. There is nothing ordinary between these two young friends Gary Schmidt brings together. They are funny and honest and wise beyond their years. And the great wise one in the sea, the whale, is woven into the story so creatively, that one is caught up and carried away with the poetry of the writing. This i ...more
Bennet So
Mar 23, 2016 Bennet So rated it did not like it
This is among the most boring books in existence. The cover speaks for itself, as it's depressing and doesn't deserve to be on the shelves. For the sake of the reader's health, this book needs to be taken down on all book shops across the globe and even online.
Susanne
Nov 30, 2015 Susanne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
Oh my -- well done! This is a chapter book for older children or young adults that gives a fictionalized account of true events early in the twentieth century when poor mixed-race people were forced from their homes on Malaga Island off the coast of Maine to make way for a tourist industry. Schmidt tells the tale from the point of view of the son of the new minister in nearby Phippsburg, Maine. A strong and moving tale with sharp flashes of humor for leavening. It's been a long time since I read ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
The friendship between a preacher's son and a black girl in 1912 Maine is tested by the prejudice of the townspeople. Great character development. It was good, but I wouldn't have given it a Newbery honor book award.
Dee Davis
Apr 24, 2015 Dee Davis rated it liked it
This is a good story that shows a friendship between young children from two cultures against all odds. Although Lizzie and Turner had several differences, the two were able to still be friends throughout their circumstances. This would be a good book for anyone that loves history because of the setting of the story, the events that occur throughout the book and the cultural changes that were taking place during that era. Since the story was set in 1912, At first I found that some of the reading ...more
Nandan Seth
Oct 06, 2014 Nandan Seth rated it did not like it
I think the book was really boring, and went too deep into religion an I couldn't understand half of those religious words, which made it boring. Also there were too many deaths!
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Gary D. Schmidt is an American children's writer of nonfiction books and young adult novels, including two Newbery Honor books. He lives on a farm in Alto, Michigan,with his wife and six children, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, feeds the wild cats that drop by and wishes that sometimes the sea breeze came that far inland. He is a Professor of English at Calvin College.

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“Books can ignite fires in your mind, because they carry ideas for kindling, and art for matches.” 106 likes
“The world turns and the world spins, the tide runs in and the tide runs out, and there is nothing in the world more beautiful and more wonderful in all its evolved forms than two souls who look at each other straight on. And there is nothing more woeful and soul-saddening than when they are parted...everything in the world rejoices in the touch, and everything in the world laments in the losing.” 39 likes
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