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Lemon

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  118 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Longlisted for the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize!
Shortlisted for the 2010 Trillium Book Award!

Lemon has three mothers: a biological one she’s never met, her adopted father’s suicidal ex, and Drew, a school principal who hasn’t left the house since she was stabbed by a student. She has one deadbeat dad, one young cancer-riddled protégé, and two friends, the school tramp and
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Paperback, 260 pages
Published October 14th 2005 by Coach House Books
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Community Reviews

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Jeanne


I really loved Lemon, this young girl who cares so much about many things but projects such indifference. Although she has three mothers, she is a lonely, solitary figure, struggling to get through high school all in one piece. Lemon does not fit in anywhere and neither does she try to. She doesn’t care about clothes or going out; she’s smarter than anyone else around and she’d rather read a good book than waste time socializing with people she doesn’t like and who don’t like her. The miseries o
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Lolly LKH
I would have given a full 5 stars if not for the end of the novel, which wasn't bad I just wanted a little more from it. I understand people felt she was too mature and read more like an adult than a teenager. I have mixed emotions there. Some felt the terrible things that happened to her were too many and therefore ridiculous but that isn't so. There are real people (young, old and in between) that tragedy seems to nest in. Lucky are those of us that tragedy only visits once, or not at all. I d ...more
Pam Bustin
Lemon will break your heart.
I love this girl.
I KNOW this girl.

Heard an interview with Cordelia Strube on CBC radio and ran to my techno-gizmo to put a hold on the ebook at the library.

Glad I did!

I hereby declare LEMON the first book of my 2013 Feminist Reads Challenge - hosted by Sara over at The Hiding Spot .

Lemon is a wise-cracking, snarky smart girl who is incredibly lonely. As with most smart-arsed teenagers, she took a while to grow on me.

As I began to read the book, it felt like she was
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Miz Moffatt
Lemon pits one girl against a world of unreliable parents, irreparable environmental damage, children suffering from cancer, and a collection of deadbeat, hopeless high school peers bent on making her life a spiraling vortex to hell. Our heroine, Lemon, is a rootless wonder -- her time is divided between her adopted father's suicidal ex, brief glimpses of the biological mother who Lemon has never met, and Drew, a school principal afraid to leave her house after she was stabbed by a student. At s ...more
Serah-Marie
I wanted to like this book, I really did. And it started off as a book I'd like - outcast smart girl, big references, no parents. I could imagine I related. Shit happens, I know, I know, but COME ON. One massive life-shattering tragedy after life-shattering tragedy - I couldn't keep up. Even the minor likable characters end up turning on her or explaining in detail how their parents were gruesomely destroyed in the Halocaust. Casual mentions of multiple dead friends. Peer-organized gang rape. TW ...more
Phoebe
I feel like I want to say something about Holden Caulfied but later on I realised that wasn't it. Yes there are similarities but only because they both play the same role--alienated, displaced, troubled, dissatisfied, and lost...Lemon typifies the modern woman in the twenty-first century just as Holden became the embodiment of the modern zeitgeist. We can never outgrow adolescence. The twenty-first century is civilisation in its adolescent stage with all of its unfulfilled longings and anxieties ...more
Amy
This book made me cry the first time I read it, staying up all night to finish. Lemon is smart and snarky, emotional and sympathetic, dramatic and tragic, realistic and relatable.
Violet
I didn't want to put it down. I didn't want it to end.
Tiffany
Lemon wins my unofficial award for Most Surprising Turnaround. At first I was outraged that I had bothered to pick it up, as I was greeted by yet another angsty and cynical adolescent voice that reminded me of that whiny asshole in Catcher in the Rye, which I thought was overrated and annoying. But after the first 75 pages I could see Lemon had distinct value, and that this whiny adolescent really did have something important to express. I warmed to her voice quickly after my initial judgment of ...more
Stacey
From the November 2009 issue of The Walrus

On matters of importance, the world doesn’t give much of an ear to the opinions of teenage girls. But Lemon, the cynical, wry, and world-weary heroine of the new Cordelia Strube novel that bears her name, deserves to be heard.

Working at the mall, she scoops ice cream for ungrateful, oversexed, and stupid strangers. Volunteering at the hospital, she helps soothe the sores and fears of dying children, telling them they will live long, happy lives, and feel
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Kendra
When I started to read Lemon and was about 80 pages into the text, I represented the protagonist as a female, twenty-first century Holden Caulfield. Lemon is stuck in teenage-land with a set of unruly and imbalanced parents and some very messed up peers and teachers. As she navigates life, from her home where her agoraphobic stepmother mopes around, to her shitty job at the mall, to hang out with her popularity-obsessed BFF, to the sick kids hospital where she volunteers, Lemon glides through li ...more
Andrew
‘Why should you care?’ I ask.

‘Unlike you, Lemon, I like to meet guys.’

‘Do you actually want their dicks up in your snatch, Ross?’ I ask. ‘Do you get some kind of power surge when they grab your tits or do you just want to be loved?’

‘You should talk. Everybody says you’re a dyke.’

‘That’ll keep ‘em off me.’

We used to talk about other things than sex and guys. We used to have confidence. We spun cartwheels and handstands. We got A’s in math.

‘Lemon’s saving herself for the ghost of Cary Grant,’ Tora
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Suzanne
Lemon is the kind of book that punches you in the gut and rips your heart out simultaneously. In a good way. Yes, that is possible.

I didn’t really know what to expect when I started reading Lemon, my first foray into Cordelia Strube’s oeuvre, even though Lemon is her eighth novel. The plot seemed like one I’d read before, yet it intrigued me nonetheless: misfit teenage girl with the odds stacked against her attempts to get out of high school in one piece. But upon reading the first few chapters,
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Kingston WritersFest
Cordelia Strube joined us at Kingston WritersFest 2010. You can read more about Cordelia and the Festival here: www.kingstonwritersfest.ca
Vivaval
Very well written, but this book is a real downer; Lemon's life just goes from bad to worse. I found it hard to read.
Carrie Marcotte
Disturbing at times & draining. But the author captures the emotional upheaval of being lost & being different in a time of life when conformity is a survival mechanism. I would file this novel as a YA novel, from what I read in the first half, but I'm not sure it would fit there after reading the last half of the novel. Maybe on the cusp. The last couple of chapters makes up for the YA feeling I got from the first half of the book, where the character Lemon is at her most unstable. If i ...more
Stark Daley
This may arguably be Strube's best book yet. While she still has the dark humour and compelling angst of earlier books, at least this time, like Pandora's jar, she left us with hope -- unlike the bleak emotional nihilism of earlier works, like The Barking Dog.

The title character is unforgettable, and takes you on a poignant, moving journey of self-discovery that typifies the struggles of today's teens. A brilliant work and a fabulous read.
Jen
A sharp, clear-eyed view of the atrocities of adolescence (and the world itself) from one outsider by choice. Though the book is darker than I expected, and contained one of the more distressing scenes I've ever read, Lemon's dry humour and relentless intelligence make the content completely digestible. Strube is completely tuned in to the modern teen world, one dramatically different from the one I remember just a decade ago.
Brittany M.
A searing YA novel centering less on the hope of survival than on the pure, cold fact of it. Strube includes grisly but necessary discussions of rape and sexual assault as well as frank portrayals of terminal illness and death. Lemon leaves a tiny weight on the chest, left me pawing through the last few pages long after my lunch break ended.
Lena
I just could not buy this, the main character did not ring true to me and the other characters were cardboard. Many scenes felt very repetitive. There was a grain of a good character development in Lemon, but she would have been more credible, with her musings and knowledge of literature, as a woman, rather than a teen-aged girl-outcast.
Jennifer Whiteford
Loved this, read it in one sitting. Lemon, the narrator, is so compelling. Smart and interesting and flawed. The tragedies she experiences are horrifying but believable. It ends hopefully but not unrealistically. Broken people are still broken. Great writing. I'd like to read more of Strube's books.
Amanda
i loved this book. really gets into the mind of a teen age girl. such a horrid world view & then it comes true. i felt so badly for Limone. her voice is so strong that even after i finished the book, i can still hear her.
Caterina
FINALLY a book about a smart lower class girl. I related a lot to Lemon, the main character.
Hmm...might write more but i cba TBH
Tamara
Jun 28, 2010 Tamara marked it as to-read
Is this the one?
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Cordelia Strube trained as an actress, moving to Toronto in the ’80s. She turned to writing plays for stage and radio, and in 1987 won the CBC Literary Competition for her play Mortal. She has also won the Toronto Arts Foundation Protege Award and been shortlisted for the Prix Italia, the Books In Canada First Novel Award, the ReLit, and the Governor General’s Award.
More about Cordelia Strube...
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