December Stillness
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December Stillness

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  345 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Sensitive and idealistic fifteen-year-old Kelly McAllister feels at odds with everyone around her. Her best friend has suddenly turned boy crazy. Her talented mother creates greeting card designs instead of real art, andher father never talks to her about anything except working hard and getting ahead.

That's why Kelly becomes so involved in the plight of a homeless Vietnam

Paperback, 192 pages
Published September 1st 1990 by HarperTeen (first published September 1st 1988)
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This is another book that isn't a 3, but not quite a 4. Through much of the book, I had to fight the sigh of resignation that comes from reading the typical teen book where the protagonist is mad at the world, spends much of the book feeling sorry for herself, and rationalizing why it's OK to shrug off school. The end of the book found me with tears running down my face.

December Stillness is another book where the author uses fiction to address the societal ills of the world. In this case the pr...more
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I was expecting to like this book much more. It deals with a 14 year old girl named Kelly (who supposedly I think the author was trying to make interesting, but unfortunately she didn't grab my attention as much as she should have),and her encounter with a homeless man who is a veteran of the Vietnam War.
The basic concept of the novel was good but it felt like it lacked a certain something to it. It did give a clear view on people's opinions about the war and the veterans. You could tell the au...more
This book irritated me. Hahn essentially rehashed the premise from "Daphne's Book" which told the story of a sensitive and insecure girl who tries to befriend a female classmate living in poverty while completing a school assignment. In "December Stillness" we get all that and so much more that renders the novel a hopeless mess.

Kelly McAllister is a typical eighth-grader. She doesn't like school, her friendships are complicated, and she has a very distant relationship with her father. This much...more
Jms Media
Fifteen year old Kelly takes on a Social Studies project that includes helping a homeless vet who often seeks refuge at the local library. Kelly learns that her father is also a veteran, of the Vietnam War. This title explores the effect war has on soldiers and how they and their families come to terms with these difficult realities.
The high school library where I teach was clearing their shelves to make room from some newer material. This book was one of the books that was free for the taking, so I took it. The premise sounded interesting to me: A 14-year old girl writing a paper on the topic of homelessness tries to befriend a homeless, disturbed Vietnam veteran in her town. While the book was definitely intended for an adolescent audience, the issues involved in the story line were grown-up.
Emily Smiltneck
As the child of a Vietnam Vet, this book touched me deeply. It explores many of the hardships that come from being the child of a veteran of a war that wasn't celebrated, or of any war, really. It also explores the different ways in which serving in such a war can affect a person. Excellent read! Another book that is just as meaningful to an adult as it is to the young adult crowd it was intended for.
Lizzie G
I love this book. I was reading it for school but as I read it I kind of forgot it was for school. Recommend this book to any one who likes to read
Gabriela P.
I loved how the author brought this issue up, the issue about family and problems from the past, it was amazing and so real. Kelly's relationship with the people she was surrounded by was not at all well and she had to decide wether to listen to them or do what she thought was right. I loved how the author made such descriptions that allowed you to visualize the entire book.
Apr 28, 2012 Vicki rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: teen
Kelly is assigned to write a research paper decides to write it aobut the homeless, when she discovers a homeless man who hangs out at the library. She tries to help this Vietnam veteran and discovers he doesn't want her help. His death, opens up her fathers past in Vietnam and help Kelly to realize many veterans haven't dealt with the violence of that war.
Natalie Kowallis
Mar 12, 2008 Natalie Kowallis rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Young adult readers
This was a pretty good book. It is definitely for young adult readers. The one part I didn't enjoy was placing it in a time period. It's obviously post-Vietnam War, but it's hard to establish a time period until more toward the end of the book. The main character was great- very easy to identify with.
Nikki Boisture
Sorry MDH. I loved this book as a kid, but as a grownup I found it preachy and mostly intolerable. The two stars are only for the portions of the book dealing with Kelly feeling distance from her friends. The part with the Vietnam Vets? Handled with no subtlety at all.
Hossam Eldin
Although the plot were not that tight and the and the dramatic line is a bit shaky but on the moral side is was not bad explaining
"how destructive a war can be to the human soul"
and i liked the drawing of "Kelly" as a young "misfit"..very relative :).
I think I read this just because of Mary Downing Hahn's other book, Wait Till Helen Comes, which I read multiple times. But since I didn't re-read this one and don't really remember it, I don't think it was as great.
Feb 07, 2008 Bharathi rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Bharathi by: Mrs.Marland
im currently reading this book..........n it stinks!!!!!!!!! we have to read it 4 class.....and so far, im not getting anythin good from it........i highly dont recommend it!
Stephanie A.
Ahhhh, blissful 80s nostalgia. *wraps self up in time capsule cocoon* When being "current & relevant" meant addressing Vietnam war vets and/or their untreated PTSD.
I really enjoyed reading "December Stillness". Both heartbreaking and tender, it will touch hearts and serve as a sober reminder of how the past can affect the present.
This book was short, but effective. Something that took a while to sink in. The progression of a family toward a new start after the Vietnam War
Jul 27, 2011 Libby added it
This is a very good book about a girl named Kelly and her vietnam vet friend Mr. Weems just to warn u the ending is sad.
This YA needs to be a must read for high school. What a good book that teaches compassion, empathy, and believing in yourself.
Katrina Rogers

This book related to me of how I am a teenager and made me realize the veterans out there in the world .
Girl interested in Vietnam Veteran bum. Okay, kind of redundant, teenage style. Good ending.
Dec 05, 2008 Steph rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: angst
the only young adult fiction book i've come across that addresses the vietnam war.
Kirwin Irwin
excellant book about respecting the homeless and the elderly...real tear jerker
really good, lots of literary devices
Pretty dated. You can tell it was written in '88.
Incredibly good as always from Mary Downing Hahn.
very dramatic, or was it? I can't remember
Kaitlin mcmahon
very good i learned alot from this book
Maria Azoca
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I grew up in a small shingled house down at the end of Guilford Road in College Park, Maryland. Our block was loaded with kids my age. We spent hours outdoors playing "Kick the Can" and "Mother, May I" as well as cowboy and outlaw games that usually ended in quarrels about who shot whom. In the summer, we went on day long expeditions into forbidden territory -- the woods on the other side of the t...more
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