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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  99 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Fifteen-year-old Shifty knows all about moving around and next to nothing about where he came from. When he's assigned to a new foster home and family, he tries hard to keep cool and stay out of trouble. But it seems like the more he tries to do the right thing, the more trouble he finds. As Shifty navigates a series of messy summer adventures, he struggles to find a balan...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 23rd 2010 by Tricycle Press (first published September 1st 2008)
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I read a very early version of this book, and I fell head over heels in love with it. Hazen's descriptions of Soli's experience as a fosterkid, of San Francisco's neighborhoods, of the relationships Soli has with his foster sister and foster mother are heart-breaking and as real as they come.
I came to care for Soli deeply. I rooted for him, and wanted him to get away with all the trouble he creates. Which he does, sometimes. This is a REAL winner.

Soli can't seem to avoid trouble, but he also has a knack for getting himself out of tight situations, thus his nickname, "Shifty." Lynn Hazen has given us an authentic, true-blue, but less than perfect hero. She has also given us a clear view of life as a foster kid and the myriad hoops that they have to jump through just to find a semblance of stability. Hooray for Shifty, hooray for Lynn Hazen.
What a treat! Full of twists and turns and delicious complications, this YA novel features one of the most appealing 'reluctant heroes' I've met in a long time. Despite his somewhat shifty nature, Soli is a soulful kid who's learning to recognize his own good conscience the help of a good-hearted, make-shift family. A delightful read.
This is real page turner! Shifty has been in and out of foster homes and is always getting into trouble even though, he has good intentions. I strongly recommend this book. I couldn't put it down!
Ellen Yeomans
Love, love, love SHIFTY! The voice sounds authentic, the story is first-rate and the charactors--main and minor--are well developed and intriguing. The best YA I've read this year!
Mykele Miller
Shifty is about a fifteen year old boy named Shifty who gets into trouble a lot that he is moved from foster home to foster home. Shifty tries to live a happy, non-trouble life but it seems that trouble follows Shifty where ever he goes. Shifty goes on this wild adventure just to stop the cops from giving him a ticket for parking in a handicap place. Read the book to find out what happens to Shifty. This book is interesting because it's funny how what a fifteen year old boy would go through just...more
Fred Kirchner
Moving, gritty story about Soli--foster son to Martha. Soli has been around the system: juvy, group homes, foster care. Even though he's seen some tough things, he's a survivor. Luckily for everyone, one with a heart that cares about Martha, his foster mom, ans Sissy, the other foster child at Martha's. Sissy's had it rougher. She won't talk much and never takes off her bulky sweater.

And there's also Chance--the baby born addicted to crack. And Martha is getting less and less mobile. So Soli--wi...more
Jennifer Wardrip

Reviewed by Amber Gibson for

Abandoned on a Greyhound bus just days after he was born, Soli has a lot working against him. Luckily, this plucky 15-year-old seems to have found a real home at long last.

His foster mom, Martha, is a shining example of a woman whose heart is in the right place. Though she does not have much money, she dedicates her life to taking care of Soli, a sweet little girl named Sissy, and Thaddeus, a baby boy born addicted to cocaine. Martha has always seen...more
Hazen, Lynn E. 2008. Shifty.

Here was a novel that surprised me. The cover didn't necessarily show much promise that I'd love it. And if it hadn't been nominated in the Cybils YA category, I might have missed this one. And that would have been wrong. Because I enjoyed this one. I did. The characters are flawed--very human--but the narrator, Soli, (a.k.a Shifty or Solomon) won me over...and quite quickly at that. He is a fifteen year old guy who is doing the best that he can. He's been in the fost...more
RATING: 4.5 out of 5

Shifty is the kind of kid that I have always admired, gutsy out of necessity, but a kind soft heart just looking for a place to call home. And given a chance and a little extra room, he will most of the time make the right decision even if it seems unusual to the rest of us.

Ms. Hazen has given a voice to foster kids and the majority of the people who care for them, not only those in San Francisco but all over the country.

Shifty is a kid that might work on the nerves of teach...more
Oct 07, 2008 Jeff rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Lynn Hazen has written a wonderful "young adult" novel about a teenage foster youth --errr, I mean, youth who lives with a foster family, living and surviving in San Francisco. Soli, aka Solomon, aka Shifty, is on the run from Dept. of Parking and Traffic -- he only has a learner's permit and he is not fond of parking in legal spaces. Most people don't think he's going to amount to much, but that's okay. He's too busy looking out for his younger sister, Sissy, and family baby, Chance. What trans...more
Realistic, contemporary, young adult fiction."Shifty" is the nickname of the main character, so named because he can get out of anything: chores, extra work, and (most of the time) trouble. 15-year-old Soli is in foster care with Little Sister (though she's not really his little sister). They've found a pretty good place with Martha, but there's always the potential for something to go wrong when you're a foster kid. Will Soli manage to stay out of trouble and will Martha manage to hold it toget...more
The characters were well developed, sympathetic, flawed. Shifty tried to do the right thing for the right reasons, and often caused himself a great deal of trouble.
The enemy was brushed with broad strokes, but that approach worked.
Teens will see themselves in the predicaments that Soli/Shifty faces and the decisions he makes, often lacking good judgement or making rationalizations for why his decision makes sense even if it does get him into trouble over and over. As an adult reader, I especially enjoyed the mixed-up, mondegreen lyrics Soli's foster mom Martha sings. I also liked the scene at the North Beach restaurant where Soli was supposed to shadow one of the valet attendants and instead ends up having to take over th...more
Soli has been in foster care practically his whole life. He is now living with a new foster mom, Martha, a younger "sister" named Sissy and "brother" named Chance. Soli does not always make the best decisions, but he has also been the recipient of some streaks of bad luck and circumstances, but now seems to have a chance to turn things around.

It has a message of hope, but is not uber-miraculous and impossible to imagine actually happening. I also appreciate the constant message of people first:...more
This book gives us an entertaining and sympathetic view into the foster care system and one foster family that is struggling to survive. The main character is a 15 year old boy who does what he can to help his foster family, while making some bad teenage decisions and trying to get our from under them. One of my favorite characters was Sissy, the main character's foster sister, who has a big heart and fuels a large chunk of the story by wanting to help a homeless woman. It's a book about life, l...more
Nowadays YA literature seems to have become a sea of sex and vampires. Enter the extraordinary Lynn Hazen, and her book, SHIFTY. Set in the real world, with real characters and situations, this book is a shining example of a fresh, contemporary YA voice. Soli is the title character, a boy in the foster system, torn between making a home and making off. His struggle is at once humorous and heartbreaking, and his final choices triumphant, but not without sacrifice. We could use more YA like this....more
Dec 12, 2008 Monica rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Tyrell by Coe Booth and America by ER Frank
Shelves: 2008, teen
This YA award contender for 2008 originally left me cold because of the cover. Yes, I am one of those people. But I'm glad I came back and gave this a shot.

Great writing, lovely characterization of most everyone involved. Totally fast moving and short to boot. I'd be surprized if I don't see this on the Printz honor list.

Also - I feel like I've been on an incredible lucky streak. The last few books I've read have been (sometimes unexpectedly) awesome.
Robert D.
shifty was a great book from starting off with soli a foster child and his "sister" sissy whos shy and will never talk go through everyday hard life just as foster kids but then face some real challenges like aold lady who lives in a storage unit the new mean social worker and a parkking ticket worth 275 dollars worth of money he dosen't have and soon probably never will this book is filled with comedy drama and alot of love!
Anne Broyles
Hazen could write the book on how to get her lovable protagonist into increasingly difficult situations. She ups the ante again and again in believable situations that this 15 year-old (who was abandoned as a baby and has spent his life in foster homes) unwittingly creates. I loved all the characters in this book and applaud the way Hazen shows good people up against and within the foster-care system and poverty.
Gianna Marino
Mar 11, 2010 Gianna Marino rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: middle grade readers and up
Recommended to Gianna by: other writers
I loved this book! I don't know anything about foster homes and Shifty gave me such an inside look at the relationships that develop. I loved learning about all of the characters and would like to meet each and every one of them. I think Sissy should be the star of Lynn's next book.
I would recommend this for anyone with a compassionate heart and mind.
Hannah Jo Parker
I don't know what's wrong with me. It looks like everyone else LOVED this book. I thought it was good, but not great. I found it predictable and the voice a tad inauthentic. I think it would be a good read for foster teens or even adopted teens who want some characters to identify with. I just didn't love it.
Brent thought this book was good and realistic but a bit heavy. He said he kept wanting things to work out for the character - which they eventually did. But he said it was kind of sad. He would recommend it to someone who likes "heavy" stories.

Lynn Hazen the author visited Lauren's school - she was awesome!
Soli, I can't think of him as Shifty any longer, had me right from the start. His quick thinking and personal charm had me cheering for him to figure out how to make eveyone happy in the end. He didn't disappoint. Great read for boys (or girls) in upper ele and younger teen.
In the tradition of Gilly Hopkins and Surviving the Applewhites, but definitely more grown-up and gritty. It's portrayal of a 15 year old (Shifty) who is essentially good but keeps making questionable decisions and getting into trouble felt accurate and true to me.
Sarah Mae
Soli AKA Shifty is a foster child in San Francisco. He always seems to get into trouble but also manages to get himself out of it just as quickly. Now he's in a foster home with a baby brother and younger sister. Will he finally find the family he's been looking for?
Soli, a.k.a. Shifty, gets into trouble every time he turns around. He is finally with a foster family that he likes and cares about. Foster mom, Martha, is being dogged by a nasty social worker. Shifty learns to trust and be trusted in a difficult situation.
catherine james
An incredible gem; heartbreaking, yet hopeful without ever devolving into sentiment or ignoring the hardcore realities of life in an extremely f***ed up foster system. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!!!

(Too short to count towards my goal of 200 books).
Fast, easy read. How many things can go wrong for this poor kid? Not that I agree with all of his choices, but you can understand kind of why he made those choices.
Alexia Miranda
I think the Book was a good Book . I was expecting it to be a little better. But it was a good, interesting how he would save himself from getting in trouble.
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Lynn E. Hazen writes books filled with humor, heart and hope. SHIFTY, her young adult novel, was praised by Kirkus Reviews as “a realistic story that resonates. Smart writing and an engaging narrative keep the story fresh, while an interesting plot will keep readers turning the pages.”

SHIFTY was chosen for VOYA’s Top Shelf Fiction, as a CCBC Choice, and as a Smithsonian Notable.

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