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December Stillness

3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  435 Ratings  ·  40 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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222nd out of 345 books — 65 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 799)
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Nov 08, 2009 Pam rated it liked it
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
Dec 08, 2015 Eden rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, reviewed
14-year-old Kelly feels out of place everywhere nowadays. She doesn't fit in with her friends, she and her father don't get along. And she really wishes her mother would use her talent on real art instead of greeting card designs.

Kelly is changing, trying to find her place, find her own path in life and make a real difference. That's why when she decides to interview a local homeless Vietnam vet for school, it becomes more than just getting a good grade to her. Kelly wants to be his friend, to h
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 13, 2009 Cara rated it it was ok
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
Aug 12, 2013 Rlis82 rated it it was ok
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
Kris - My Novelesque Life

"Sensitive and idealistic fifteen-year-old Kelly McAllisterfeels at odds with everyone around her. Her best friendhas suddenly turned boy crazy. Her talented mothercreates greeting card designs instead of real art, andher father never talks to her about anything exceptworking hard and getting ahead. That's why Kelly becomes so involved in the plight of ahomeless Vietnam vet who takes refuge in the libraryeach day. Interviewing him began as a Social Studiesproject, but it takes on new me
Peyton Mary
Feb 21, 2015 Peyton Mary rated it it was amazing
I honestly loved the book. It's very common that books don't get my attention, and I won't read them unless I have to. Kelly never had a deep conversation with Bob Weems but felt so connected with him that she needed to honor his death. But I think the cover gives to much of the book away.
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.
Jaime Stevens
Oct 12, 2014 Jaime Stevens rated it really liked it
This was one of my favorite books when I was a teenager 20 years ago. I remember reading it more than once.
Jan 26, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it
One of the few books that I like reading in school.
Jun 28, 2010 Christine rated it liked it
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
Feb 10, 2008 Emily Smiltneck rated it really liked it
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
Jan 11, 2014 Lizzie G rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 08, 2012 Gabriela P. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2012
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 liked it
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 it was ok
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
May 22, 2010 Nikki Boisture rated it it was ok
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
Mar 17, 2013 Hossam Eldin rated it liked it
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 did not like it
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!
Nate Crawford
Nov 12, 2014 Nate Crawford rated it it was amazing
Hands down my favorite book of all time. I first read this gem in sixth grade and have read it a dozen times since. A perfect read for Veterans Day and Thanksgiving.
Stephanie A.
Nov 17, 2014 Stephanie A. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 30, 2012 Ruth rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 30, 2010 Shona rated it liked it
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.
May 16, 2013 Calie rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 28, 2012 Katrina Rogers rated it liked it

This book related to me of how I am a teenager and made me realize the veterans out there in the world .
Dec 12, 2008 Susan rated it it was ok
Girl interested in Vietnam Veteran bum. Okay, kind of redundant, teenage style. Good ending.
Dec 05, 2008 Steph rated it it was ok
Shelves: angst
the only young adult fiction book i've come across that addresses the vietnam war.
Kirwin Irwin
Jul 04, 2008 Kirwin Irwin rated it it was amazing
excellant book about respecting the homeless and the elderly...real tear jerker
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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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