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Staying quiet will destroy her, but speaking up will destroy everyone.

Kate Franklin’s life changes for the better when her dad lands a job at Beacon Prep, an elite private school with one of the best basketball teams in the state. She begins to date a player on the team and quickly gets caught up in a world of idolatry and entitlement, learning that there are perks to being an athlete.

But those perks also come with a price. Another player takes his power too far and Kate is assaulted at a party. Although she knows she should speak out, her dad’s vehemently against it and so, like a canary sent into a mine to test toxicity levels and protect miners, Kate alone breathes the poisonous secrets to protect her dad and the team. The world that Kate was once welcomed into is now her worst enemy, and she must decide whether to stay silent or expose the corruption, destroying her father’s career and bringing down a town’s heroes.

Canary is told in a mix of prose and verse.

400 pages, Paperback

First published August 1, 2013

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About the author

Rachele Alpine

14 books173 followers
Rachele Alpine is a lover of binge watching reality TV, dogs, knitting, gummy peaches, and lots and lots of coffee!

One of her first jobs was at a library, but it didn't last long, because all she did was hide in the third-floor stacks and read. Now she's a little more careful about when and where she indulges her reading habit.

By day she's a high school English teacher, by night she's a mom and wife, and she writes during any time she can find in between!

Rachele lives with her husband and son in Cleveland, Ohio, but dreams of moving back to Boston, the city she fell in love with while attending graduate school there.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 142 reviews
Profile Image for Dov Zeller.
Author 2 books104 followers
February 15, 2016
The characters in this novel are very flat and the prose doesn't sing. The subject matter is important, though, and perhaps younger readers will find this book a source of support, in which case, I'm glad it exists.

That said, I think the subject matter deserves a much more powerful and nuanced story.

Goodreads reviewer Paige recommends Fault Line by Christa Desir. I am going to try to check it out.

I'm sure there are other novels that address absent or neglectful parents and sexual assault in the context of high school sports culture in some combination. Feel free to post recommendations in comments for those who are searching.
Profile Image for Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries).
1,226 reviews391 followers
January 19, 2015
See more of my reviews sooner on The YA Kitten!

As both a feminist and a news junkie, the fucked up shit in Steubenville, Ohio didn't escape my attention once it started gaining wider coverage. Sports culture is an astounding thing, as is what people will do to keep their sports heroes both on their pedestal and on the court/field/etc. Canary came across as a fictionalized Steubenville, though it was most likely written before the scandal and revised for publication during it. That's not something I got. Did I get a great novel that stands on its own without the crutches of real-life parallels? Nope, didn't get that either. I got a novel that practically tacks on sexual assault as an afterthought and resolves it so simplistically it's insulting.

This is not gonna be a happy review, obviously. But it's not all bad! The beginning suffices for drawing me into Kate's world and the strange basketball-centered universe that is Beacon. Here, the boys are stars because their team hasn't lost a game in years. Sports culture like this is easily relatable to real life, specifically football. Good examples are the Ray Rice clusterfuck and the fact former Carolina Panthers player Rae Carruth went on the run from police for a month to avoid arrest. Only upon being arrested for conspiracy to commit murder did the Panthers drop him. Because a player going on the run to avoid arrest and violating what he agreed on when he posted bail for himself isn't a good enough reason.

SO YEAH. I know about sports culture and how it lets male athletes get away with violence against women. A class on domestic violence literally made me write a paper on it. Anyway, the point of that is that the premise is solid, Kate is a good heroine readers can connect with easily, and it's not hard to get invested.

I suppose this is the part where I confess I didn't read the entire novel; due to little of worth happening and all the major pieces in place, I skipped from the 25% mark to when the assault occurs around 67-70%. It didn't impact my reading experience much; only one important character (Kate's new friend Julia) hadn't been introduced by that point and by that 25% mark, events were starting to feel more like filler or part of a different novel altogether. Novels do need time to establish their characters and set everything up, but considering how long it takes for the incident Canary centers on to happen, it's clear this novel takes entirely too long to get where it wants to take readers.

That leaves about 120-130 pages for the aftermath of Kate's sexual assault, which isn't nearly enough time. Some great novels have been both short and masterful in their approach to sexual assault (Fault Line by Christa Desir is my recommendation if you want to see it done right), but the too-slow pacing of the Pre-Assault becomes rushed pacing in the Post-Assault. The bullying of a student after their sexual assault based on rumors is very real and just one of many ways victims suffer from more than just the attack itself; see Steubenville's Jane Doe and Rehtaeh Parsons for examples. In Canary, it comes off so cartoonishly that I honestly thought to myself that it was unrealistic--and that is where this novel goes so wrong I hardly have words for it.

Taking too long to get somewhere is annoying but okay if the place is worth getting to. Making readers think of what Kate is going through as a joke even when they probably know better makes my blood boil like water in a teapot.

As you would expect, everyone immediately turns on her--including her friends. They're calling her a slut and a skank and all those other words I'd like to abolish. Kate's own efforts to do what she can, like tell her father, are admirable considering what she went through and how hard it is to tell authority figures what happened to you. The problem is how the bullying lacks any subtlety. It all just falls on her at once and is shoved into such a small number of pages right at the end it comes off as ridiculous. No one should think that, especially me of all people. That Kate tells us how it makes her feel instead of showing us doesn't help matters.

(I've also got a little niggle about how so many people knew Luke's reputation for being repulsive and joined in the bullying anyway like they didn't believe her, but I have never been involved such a case and thus will let bygones be bygones on this point. One character's reasons for it didn't convince me of everyone's reasons for it.)

Then at the very end, the resolution Kate comes up with takes effect so quickly it's not believable. It's quickly mentioned at the end that Kate's one loud voice unleashes the whispers of a thousand students and an investigation is underway, but then the novel ends. Boom. I wanted so much more from the ending. Editing down the first 70% and adding some of that length to the end so readers get a broader scope of what comes after Kate speaks would have given this novel a good star or two on its own. Rushing this resolution doubles the insult to survivors, in my opinion. Compared to the war that has to be fought afterwards in the courts, speaking up is almost nothing.

As someone who believes in sexual assault survivors as a victim of sexual abuse, writing a negative review for this novel hurts me. It really, really does. But novels that do so little for the cause like this one and treat the issue at hand as an afterthought need to be made known. For books that understand the weight of sexual assault and what it does to people, check out Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (the classic, of course), the above-mentioned Fault Line, Easy by Tammara Webber, and a host of other novels. YA isn't short of novels about sexual assault, after all.
Profile Image for Tee loves Kyle Jacobson.
2,474 reviews172 followers
February 5, 2013
When you see the title Canary you think of the bird right away. I thought of a beautiful bird living free until it is needed. Some people love Canaries and have them caged and some let them fly free in their homes. This is such a compelling story that I laughed and I cried but in the end I was very proud of the main character for stepping outside the box and doing what needed to be done. I have read several stories that have this subject matter in it and it has made me very angry but this one struck a cord with me because it could happen at any high school and what is even more sadder than that is it has.

Kate finally has some peace of mind because her father has found a great job at a private prep school. She is dating the star basketball player and she is in love. She has new friends and has begun to enjoy her new life. But things are not always what they seem because Kate and her new friends are at a party when she is assaulted. With no one to go to and no where to go to Kate has to decide whether or not she will report the crime or not. Then when her father finds out what he does is so dam despicable I screamed at the book because I was royally pissed off!

In the end Kate has to decide if her family is more important than herself. She will have to dig deep and wide and finds herself and do what is right for her and not the school and not the ball players and not her family. This is such a gripping and compelling story for all to read!
Profile Image for Olivia.
279 reviews
December 3, 2014
One word to describe this book = generic. For example, the characters' names are all very ordinary (Kate, Jack, Luke, Julie, Brett, Ali). Throughout the story, I really wanted to sympathize with the main character, Kate, but I never really connected. I wanted to like this book so much but it never really clicked for me unfortunately.
Profile Image for Christina.
Author 48 books1,846 followers
May 10, 2013
I've had the privilege of beta reading this book and it is SO GOOD! Congrats Rachele and I look forward to reading the final version!
Profile Image for Ash.
6 reviews1 follower
Want to read
July 5, 2012
I cannot wait to read this book! Mrs Alpine you were one of my favorite teachers at Perry!
Profile Image for Nuzaifa.
140 reviews177 followers
December 28, 2013
Canary was one of the book at the very top of my wish list and I was eagerly anticipating it's release. And Rachele Alphine does not disappoint.

Meet the Frankins-A father who's crippled by the loss of his wife to a point that he's no longer emotionally present with his family. His new job as a basketball coach at the prestigious Beacon Prep may be nudge they needed to finally move forward. Or maybe not.
Brett, Kate's older brother is grieving in his own way and trying to come to terms with his mother's death and the fact that his family's only way of communication is through post-it notes. The father-son relationship is definitely suffering. Kate Franklin, the protagonist is looking forward to a fresh start. Kate is adjusting relatively better to the changes than her brother thanks to all her new friends, her boyfriend on the basketball team and her new found popularity.
“We're not his family, his team is.”

Written in prose and verse and narrated by Kate Franklin, Canary tells you a story of love, loss, family, popularity and friendship. But most importantly, it's a story of a girl's battle against herself to become strong enough to make the right choice.

The writing is simply compelling so the reader is left with no choice but to feel every emotion that Kate experiences. I absolutely loved the way Rachele incorporated blog posts along with first person narration because it gave so much insight into Kate's thoughts.
“How loud do you have to yell until they hear you.”

Kate, the protagonist wasn't particularly like-able but what makes Canary such a riveting read is that she was human-Completely and utterly human in her thoughts and actions. The 3-dimensional characters along with the realistic portrayal of Beacon Prep makes Canary a captivating read.
At first, it’s as if I have two faces.
One I wear to school, around Jack, my friends, Dad, and one I have when I go home and am alone.

One of my favorite aspects of the book was Kate's relationship with her brother-Brett was a little more wary of Beacon Prep so he was very protective of his sister. Their sibling relationship added some great value to the story.

Rachele's ability to tackle a heavy subject such as sexual assault is truly commendable. Kate's struggles convey a strong message and thanks to the Rachele's captivating writing the reader gets a poignant tale that leaves a mark.

This gut-wrenching story of one girl's story struggle to accept and tell the truth is an unique and thought-provoking read for fans of Ellen Hopkins, Sarah Dessen and Laurie Halse Anderson. I cannot recommend this amazing debut enough.

A huge thank you to Jeanne at Medallion Press for a review copy of Canary.
Profile Image for Stephanie Ward.
1,176 reviews116 followers
August 5, 2013
'Canary' is a contemporary YA novel that follows main character Kate as she begins her sophomore year at the prestigious Beacon Prep - the school where her Dad coaches the basketball team. At first, things are going great: Kate has a group of new girlfriends, the guys on the team all seem to like her, and she has a great boyfriend - Jack. Things at home aren't going as well as her brother Brett and her Dad begin to fight more often, until Brett announces he's enlisting in the Army. Things at home are a mess, but Kate believes that with her friends and Jack by her side, everything will turn out okay. Then one night at a party, Kate is assaulted by one of the basketball players. She tries to tell her Dad about what happened, along with her boyfriend and her friends. Her Dad tells her to basically keep her mouth shut because he's afraid of what will happen to the team and his career, and Kate's so-called friends are no better. Now Kate's left with the awful truth of what happened that night and the fact that she can either keep the dirty secret inside or tell everyone the truth behind Beacon Prep and their beloved basketball team.

This was a very emotional and well written novel that seemed to touch on major topics that are relevant in today's teens lives. Kate was a great main character - she's smart, tries to be a peacekeeper in her family, and just wants to make her Dad proud of her again. She thinks that Beacon Prep will be a fresh start for her - and for awhile it is. The plot was layered with multiple smaller story lines playing out throughout the novel, but they all seem to weave together to form a powerful end product. The book touches on several deep and important issues in life like friendship, family, love, betrayal, sexual assault, secrets, and doing the right thing - despite what the consequences might be, and in the end - hope. Although not all of Kate's story is a great one, it is definitely full of meaningful lessons that readers of all ages can relate to. The writing itself had a great pace and flowed smoothly along. This is certainly a book that might be hard for some readers to experience as it touches on hurtful topics, but I highly recommend it for fans of YA contemporary novels.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Susan.
298 reviews59 followers
May 16, 2013
Canary , is one of those contemporary stand alone young adult novels, that was powerful in such a way that it drug my emotions all of the place. Written in a mixture of prose and verse, it is one of those novels where the story beneath the telling, has a way of getting up underneath your skin and irritating. Irritating in a good way, to clarify. In some ways it reminded me of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. In light of recent events gone on in the news lately, I think this is a story that was much needed to be told, and it was written in such a realistic and relatable way that it is easy to connect with the characters in the story.

Powerful and dripping with emotion, this is a story will command your attention from the beginning. There's more than one issue going on, at the heart of this story. Rachele Alpine, tackles them both with a sensitivity and vulnerability that will leave your heart aching for Kate, her home life, the ordeal she goes through, and her brother. This is a beautifully written and truly compelling look at the inside of a girl who has to battle a long journey of self-discovery, in order to become stronger within her own skin to make the right choice for herself. Kate is a beautiful portrait of a realistic heroine that is to be admired for all of her courageous grace and beauty.

It is a hard book to get through, with so many different ways of looking at things such as enlisting in the military, the incident where Kate is assaulted, the fall out of the decision from that, among so many other things. However, I have to applaud Rachele Apline, for writing it in such a way that it was beautifully captivating and emotionally compelling. It will definitely hold your attention and parts of it may very well make you angry. There are just so many conflicting emotions throughout this novel, that make it so wonderfully realistic and definitely worth a read. I would definitely recommend giving it a chance.
Profile Image for Deborah.
442 reviews1 follower
May 9, 2017
More than two-thirds of this book is incredibly repetitive, frustrating set-up in which the protagonist, Kate, is given a quite clear picture of her friends. They’re shallow, vain, and cruel towards others in the school, including her brother. She occasionally objects but never really does anything about it.

There is simply too much going on in this book. The author writes about a family disintegrating after a tragedy—okay. She writes about the impact of a close relative enlisting—okay. She writes about peer pressure—okay. She writes about sports elitism—okay. All of these are okay on their own, but jam it together and you’ve got one hell of a mess.

She apparently meant to write about classism, but although it’s occasionally referenced as significant, there’s precious little build-up, and that’s precisely the problem. Trying to cram too much into one book, she doesn’t properly develop her themes. Rather than being a multifaceted and nuanced work, this is a tangled slog.

Slapped on at the end is an absurd if not outright offensive bit about Kate nearly being assaulted and recovering from that assault by finding her voice. Or rather, by sending out a link to her blog. Luckily her father realizes that he’s been neglecting his family for his work—for no apparent reason, since Kate had previously mentioned the attempted assault by one of the boys he coaches and he did nothing.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
3,614 reviews8 followers
April 11, 2014
Canary has a serious message, but I wasn’t able to continue with the book after the father said that Kate and Brett had to go to a new school. The father’s line of reasoning derailed me from the story. Both Kate and Brett are already in a high school that isn’t that far from the father’s place of work. What type of parent would do that to their children?! He didn’t care about them or their needs; he only cared about his reputation. That is why I was unable to finish reading Canary.
Profile Image for Emily Bostic (Smith).
227 reviews1 follower
August 2, 2020
To be honest, I only picked up this book because the summer reading program said to pick one that hadn't been checked out yet. This book was left alone with good reason.
Profile Image for Sarah {Literary Meanderings}.
680 reviews282 followers
July 30, 2013

♥ Find my reviews here: Literary Meanderings

- - -

Your life is about to change forever.
Kate Franklin lost her mother to cancer over two years ago. Since then, her remaining family has drifted apart. Kate and her brother, Brett, rarely even speak or to or even see their father. When he isn't working he retreats to his office and shuts the two of them out—literally and metaphorically.
“My brother, Dad, and I do the majority of our communicating using Post-it notes [...]

I'll find them stuck to the bathroom mirror [...] or on the kitchen counter [...]

If Brett or I need something signed or want permission to go somewhere, we'll leave notes in places we know our dad will be: the door to the garage, on top of his coffee pot, the bathroom or on his computer screen.”
Kate doesn't like the direction her family life has taken, but things begin looking up when her father sits she and her brother down with some news.

As the new basketball coach at Beacon Prep school, it's a given that Kate and Brett's father wants to transfer them both there from their current high school. Brett is unhappy; Kate is ecstatic. Going to Beacon means starting anew. It means opportunities that weren't available before. It means leaving the past behind; becoming a new person.

Kate fits in at Beacon with complete ease. The popular kids adopt her into their group immediately and she even begins dating Jack Blane—one of the most coveted basketball-playing boyfriends to have.

But soon enough, Kate begins to see why her brother hates her group of friends so much; how the basketball players cheat, lie, and manipulate. They rule the school. They do what they want—to who they want—without consequence.

Kate finds herself on the receiving end of one such event, and telling someone about it means the downfall of the basketball team and maybe even her father's career.

Those who once made you feel everything can make you feel like nothing.
- - -

Let's get the negative out of the way first, yes? :)

The plot moved a little slow for me. For about 1/3 of the book I found myself in that stage where I was wanting to skip paragraphs because it was becoming repetitive.

There was also a whole lot going on in this book. It was all woven together very well, but there was a bit about Kate's brother joining the military that I feel didn't really had to be there. I think the main purpose it served was so we could see how much Kate was still wounded inside and afraid from losing her mother. All she talked about was how her brother was joining the army and how she had a right to be upset or angry over it. I honestly think that bit was taken overboard. It could be because I am an ex-military wife and I've caught a glimpse of that life and it wasn't all that scary, to be honest. I started getting really annoyed with Kate over it.

BUT, small details, right? When I think of Canary, these aren't the things that stand out to me. The mix of verse and prose is something that does. You may be confused at first, while reading the pieces starting with “TODAY'S TRUTH”—these are blog entries by Kate. It's an online diary or journal of sorts. The verse is beautiful and very moving. I found myself wanting to quote every single one in my review! I definitely recommend the book on this alone! It really gave me a true sense of Kate and her personality. It also ends up being a key element to the story later on in the book.

Let's talk about bullying. If you know me at all, or have read my blog even just a few times, you will know what a huge deal bullying is to me. I was bullied in school for years. Each time I read a book with bullying at it's core, I get angry all over again. Although I am well past my middle and high school years at this point, I can still see and feel it like it was yesterday. In this aspect, I could relate to Kate. Rachele Alpine portrayed the pain and sadness that comes from being bullied very well. Then you have the indecision of whether or not to tell someone. If you've never been bullied then you probably don't understand why someone would hesitate for even a moment to tell someone. And here is the sad truth: more often than not, it's overlooked, ignored, or doesn't yield serious repercussions. There is fear that things will just become worse for you, so you stay quiet. This is something Kate struggles with for a good portion of the book. Her experiences with the group bullying her and abusing her really touched me. I was so proud of her when she finally decided to stand up for herself.

Which brings me to my next bit. Kate's father. OH. MY. GOSH. Deep breath... I wanted to pummel this guy senseless! I don't want to have any spoilers in my review, but when Kate comes to her father with the truth about his precious basketball team, he pretty much tells her that she is the problem and that she needs to stop being the problem. He gets angry with her because her standing up for herself could put his job as basketball coach in jeopardy. After an argument, he promises to make it better and never follows through. This is the part of the book that moved me the most. Sadly, it wasn't a happy or proud feeling. I was so angry I wanted to spit! I cried. I was so hurt by what Kate's father said and did to her that I didn't even know what to do with myself. I became very invested in Kate and the outcome of her experiences that I honestly felt like her father physically slapped her and I both in the face. Redemption does come, but in my opinion it's too little, too late. Either way, the point of me saying this is that it was just so so so easy to get into the book and to feel what Kate was feeling and to be in her shoes. Rachele Alpine brought these characters to life. They are multidimensional and literally jump right off the page.

And last, the ending. Canary ends in a way that has the potential to make a reader want to throw their book or e-reader across the room. It's very abstract. I had to sit on my rating for a bit because I wasn't sure if I was happy with it or not. In the end, I decided I loved that things were left the way they were. We don't get to see how the bullies are punished. We just get to see that Kate comes out, tells the truth, and takes a stand. We don't see the ramifications for what Jack, Luke, and the others have done. After giving myself some time, though, I realize this is how the ending should be. Taking a stand and telling the truth should be done with or without assurance that something will be done. I wish I'd had this insight myself when I was in school, but hindsight is 20/20, right? Standing up for what you believe; for what you think is right, should be an absolute given. I think Rachele Alpine ended this book on a 100% perfect note. I see what you did there, Rachele. ;)

All in all, Canary is a must-read for teens and lovers of YA fiction. Although slightly repetitive at times, the story has potential to touch you emotionally and bring you great insight into bullying and being bullied. I think this book can show teens that standing up for yourself is a must—and as soon as possible. Don't wait, don't worry. Just come forward. If enough people speak out then schools, teachers, parents, and communities as a whole will have no choice but to take definitive action against bullies. Someone has to be first, so why not you?

Canary also gives an in-depth look into family life and dynamics and how they can be effected by things such as a death in the family, a family member joining the military, changing schools, moving out, etc. It highlights both negative and positive changes and how different people cope with these things. It's an emotional roller coaster from page one until the very end.

I recommend this book for everyone. I think it's fantastic and I am very impressed with this author. I hope to see more from her in the future!

- - -

Book source: From the author for review
Publisher: Medallion Press
Profile Image for Jaiden.
144 reviews69 followers
July 1, 2013
Originally posted at: Girls on YA Books

What is this!? Did someone send out a letter saying that depressing, struggling, coming of age stories were in? I've read so many it feels like this year! I sure didn't get the memo. Now, I am not in any way saying that is a bad thing. I like these stories best. I like the broken being fixed. The struggles it takes for someone to find themselves. It's real and true.

Rachele Alpine does not disappoint. Like I said before, it seems as if I have read these types of stories back to back, and again, I am not complaining. Mrs. Alpine tackled the story of teenage life and it's ups and downs, high school's hierarchy and the struggle to "be on top", the everyday life struggles that mold us teens into the adults we can become and might I say...she nailed it! Now, high school isn't like the movies. Most of the time you don't get a raging bitch who runs the school. You do get bitches and asses but...well, you get those everywhere. I think when Mrs. Alpine was portraying the high school heirarchy, the elites, the rulers of campus, whatever you want to call them she was just giving a bigger picture of how tough fitting in can be. You want to be recognized, loved, adored. You don't realize just how slippery of a slope that can be.

We are given the character of Kate to take the dark road for us. Man, my hear actually physically hurt when reading this book. The things she had to go through was rough. She was strong because she feared, be cause she loved and lost, because she lost sight of what was important, because she lost herself. Strong because despite all that, she made it through, she found herself, she found what was important and lost what was not. She was strong because she survived. Not survived as in fought an army with one a pin and needle but survived what might have other's cracking. I loved her. She is a protagonist worthy of the term "heroine". Sometimes society distorts all of what we hold dearly and we are temporarily blinded by it all. We cause our own pain, our own destruction. This is what Rachele shows us. This is why it was so devastating...because whether we want to see it or not...its all true.

Canary is a powerful read. It takes you on a journey filled with loss, heartache, betrayal, and the road that leads you to finding yourself, voice, and fully accepting who you are. It was not an easy journey. That's what I loved about it so much. These days so many stories (books, movies, etc) show the bad and the outcome being completely unaffected by it. That's not true and that's not real. We have to struggle to get to the top. We have to make mistake after mistake until we finally get it right. Sometimes we have so many problems that your drowning in them and you think you will never catch your breath but when you finally do....its worth it. It doesn't seem like it at the time but its true. As they say: "A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor." This is true in Canary.

I was hooked from page one. The writing of Rachele Alpine is intoxicating. She pushes the boundaries. She pushes herself. She pushes Kate. The most unique thing about this book is the daily blog entries. Kate's "Daily Truth". Yes, Kate keeps track of everything in a blog. She writes all the happenings of her day, every day. The way she writes them is so beautiful. Some are so heart-wrenching but they are beautiful. They are lyrical, poetic, inspiring. So not only does Rachele write a book but a blog in a book, talk about talent. I haven't read something like that. It was unique and captivating.

The amount of talent Rachele Alpine is unbelievable. She has truly made a fan out of me. I will read anything and everything by her. I can hardly believe that she was the one coming to me at the beginning of the year asking me if I wanted to read her book. That she was giving me and my blog compliments. That it was an honor of hers if I would read and review her book. All along it should have been me begging her for a chance to read her book. The honor is truly all mine. It was an absolute pleasure to be gifted with an advanced copy of her book. To get a chance to read the greatness that is Canary. My emotions ran wild with this book. I teared up, I got angry, I got depressed. Rachele has your emotions in the palm of your hand and she will own them. You will not be in control of them when reading this book. I wasn't..that is for sure.

So all in all, when this book comes out, read it. It is a book that will capture you from the beginning leaving you breathless at the end. It's not one with a happy ending waiting at the end. It's not terrible but the road to the end is torture. You will be reading Kate's snowball effect and have no power over it. All you can do is continue reading and anticipate the end. You watch that snowflake touch the ground and start rolling, picking up speed and increasing inside, seeing Kate at the bottom in direct line of impact. You can scream, you can shout warning after warning but you are powerless. The outcome is inevitable. And you want to save yourself the horror but you can't because you are so hooked. Canary's got its claws hooked into your heart, its song singing for you to continue while also voicing a warning. I felt as if I was in one of those sound proof glass boxes with the one way vision except you got the vision and no one can see you...seeing and hearing everything but having no one hear or see you. Its torture and again, I couldn't stop. It was amazing. By the end I was truly breathless. My heart hurt and all I could do was lay down for the night and think it all over.

Read it, hate it, love it. ;D Those are the three steps to an amazing book. The books associated with the word "great" are the ones that aren't perfect. They don't have the indestructible heroine with the fearlessness and courage to feed an army of thousands, they have the rough and the tough that is all too true. Those are the books I find to steal my heart and Canary is one of them. The one's that are 5 star worthy. It's one I will swear up and down on. Keep with me as a reminder, as a source of inspiration. I will encourage this book to all.


5 of 5 stars!

*a copy was provided for review purposes*
Profile Image for lifebymaddie.
255 reviews22 followers
April 15, 2014
All right. I read this book in kind of a whirlwind--two days. The beginning didn't look very promising, and I almost didn't read it, but I guess you could say I'm glad I did. I mean, it was a good story. It propelled forward nicely, once you got past the somewhat iffy beginning. My biggest problem (because there's always one with me, isn't there?) lies in the writing.

It may just be the author's style, but it was wooden, woven with cliches and lengthy, poetry-inclined descriptions (these fell more toward the beginning) that made you roll your eyes. For a book written in first person, the flow was not very natural. A lot of times, a chapter started with summarizing the past few days or whatever--and more than once, she would start it with, The next day, which kind of seems like a cardinal sin for whatever reason. She just didn't have very much voice, I guess. The conversation also felt stiff in places, like talking just doesn't come natural to these characters.

The book's summary is not entirely misleading, but it reads as if a big part of the book is geared toward Kate's "assault" (I use quotes not in a sarcastic way, but because that's what the blurb called it), and her desire to come clean. Well...yeah, not really. Which is fine. I mean, reading a whole book in her state of mind afterwards would wear on you after a while. It was depressing. So I guess I can say I'm glad it wasn't, but I expected this event to occur a lot earlier in the book--I'm talking first half. Instead, it happened quite a ways after the second. It definitely gave the author a chance to set up the characters nicely, but...

Also, I'm going to say that I don't think Kate's mother was given much personality. I never really felt sorry for her, or felt for her loss (my mom's currently reading How to Love (Katie Cotugno) at my recommendation and a loss of a character in there did, indeed, make me feel it) which I guess is because the Mom was bland. She was just bland. A lot of these characters suffered like that, giving them only one-facet personalities. And also, those one facets magically changed when they needed to, just to suit the story (take Jack for example.

Luke was also a character that could have used more developing. I mean, he doesn't just have to play the bad guy. The author could've given a reason for us readers to pity him, or to at least understand him. Kids aren't just born with complete and utter disregard for their fellow humans without reason (usually, but Jack wasn't a sociopath (is that the right term?), I don't think). I understand that the worship of every student in the class could lead to such an inflated sense of immortality, but he was just awful. I wanted a reason. Jennifer Brown did a good job with this in A Thousand Words. I gave the book two starts, but I felt empathy for the perpetrator (or the "bad guy", you could say) because she gave him a depth. She made him human. He made a bad choice, and he was going to suffer for it, and I felt bad for him. For Luke? No. And I'm not saying I wanted a reason to feel sorry for this awful guy, but I wanted there to be something to him. He lacked substance severely.

Overall, this book was well-paced and had an interesting storyline, which kept me reading. Her Dad made quite the turnaround at the end (again, in line with changing peoples' personalities quickly to suit the story) and Brett was absent too often to matter to me.

I like the title. You don't get it until the end, but when I did, I enjoyed the metaphor. The author did a nice job in that respect.

Three stars.
Profile Image for Anna Kay.
1,321 reviews154 followers
April 8, 2013
Beautiful and gut-wrenching. Review to come soon! :)

Kate is desperate to keep her family together, but since her Mom died they've drifted dangerously apart from each other. So when her Dad gets a new job coaching basketball at privileged Beacon Prep, she is more than happy to start school there. Especially since it means she gets to leave behind all the 'friends' who deserted her when her Mom got sick with cancer. Her brother Brett is angry and withdraws even more, especially when Kate starts hanging out with the popular kids who make fun of him all the time. Enjoying the all of the perks that come with having a basketball God for a boyfriend, when things start to go downhill Kate starts to have serious doubts about who her real friends are and who's even worth her time. When Kate is assaulted and tries to speak out, she needs to decided whether or not to let herself be silenced, or to speak the truth and maybe begin healing all the poisonous hurts in her life. Will Kate be forced to choose between herself and her Dad before all is said and done?
This book was really powerful. At the beginning, Kate is a typical teenager worried about the shallow things in life. She's focused on her appearance, popularity, getting a boyfriend and surviving high school. But as the book moves forward, we get to see her changes as she matures. The blog posts in a combination of prose and verse were a really nice touch and added an extra element of reality to the book for me personally. When I was a teen, I wrote poetry constantly to express myself and I know that a lot of teens still do. A poem can be a life-changing event. As things go from bad to worse with the basketball boys and the popular girls, readers get to see Kate taking a stand for things she believes in (especially when they all attempt to cheat off of her homework) but letting things go too (like when they make fun of her brother Brett and his girlfriend Julia). The decision that Brett makes to go into the military and the backstory/thoughts from when their Mom was sick, and how this all affected Kate definitely makes her more relatable. I could see how after all that personal pain she'd be so mixed up about what her values were and what she wanted. The way she handles the assault is realistic, but still portrays her as a strong girl who is willing to stand up for herself.
I liked that the author managed to show the Father's road back to his daughter from the major disconnect he's been in, without vilifying him to the readers. When all is said and done, you are sure of the fact that he's a human being, albeit one who made some VERY huge mistakes. All of the interactions with her boyfriend (who abandons Kate in favor of the team) and the girls who were her friends, but start bullying her after the assault were pretty realistic to how entitled/spoiled teens seem to react to things they see as threats to their freedom or way of thinking. My only complaint would be the way Kate made excuses for Josh's douchebag/borderline abusive behavior for most of the book. But I know it happens all the time in reality which makes me sad. The ending was definitely in keeping with the overall, never-give-up strength and attitude of the rest of the book. All in all I enjoyed it a lot, even when it was breaking my heart into tiny pieces. A very emotional and gripping book that I would recommend to teens who like books dealing with real issues, reluctant readers, teachers and librarians. Or anyone wanting a great book! :)

VERDICT: 4.75/5 Stars

*I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie. No favors or money were exchanged for this review. It will be available for purchase on August 1st, 2013.*
Profile Image for Ashley (Loves Books).
239 reviews46 followers
February 10, 2013
***This review will post to Ashley Loves Books at a later date.****

I'm not usually a verse novel kind of girl, but I have to say - Canary's verse blog entries were fantastic! Definitely my favourite parts of the book. There were some passages that I wasn't a fan of, but I really enjoyed the various ways each post was written and how many different styles the author employed. For an English lit geek like me, I was definitely loving it. And I have to say, she did them so well! They really enhanced the story, and I love how the blog posts tied into the story itself.

Canary was an interesting read for me, in both good and bad ways. The plot itself is fairly typical, and one of my biggest disappointments was how predictable this was. I had the entire thing plotted before I even picked it up, and while I had wished it would surprise me, it just never did. There is one where some people may not expect it, but it was never surprising; and I really missed having that "oh!" revelation with books. I felt like there could be so many opportunities for it in Canary, and it just never came through.

I have to say though, Rachele is fabulous at painting a villain. There are so many "bad" characters in this novel, and each one differs from the other in intricate ways. I feel weird saying I enjoyed the villains - but it's true! They're one of the better parts of the book, because they really make the reader feel something towards them.

I have to mention one thing, because it's me. The military is big in my life (obviously.), and I took some large offense to how ardently Kate and her father were against her brother's enlisting. I was seriously considering putting the book down when it kept coming back up and when they kept rehashing the reasons he shouldn't go. In my world, the military is an honor. It's something you aspire to be a part of; or even if it's not, you stand proud. So when Kate and her father kept saying it was a place for burnouts and losers who had no other future? I wanted to absolutely shred the pages.

But here's the thing, and it took me a few hours to come to terms with it. I have to face the fact that that stance is one that people do have. Even though it is so far from the truth in my world, I finally understand now that how Canary looks at it is also how others do, too. And once I could wrap my head around that idea, I accepted it into the plot and actually started to appreciate how it affects everything. I don't like it, of course - but the part it played was a good one and really brought out some great results. And even when I didn't like it, I did appreciate how they approached it and how each character handled the reactions to the brother's enlistment.

Canary was a struggle for me, at times being brilliant and captivating; and more often disappointing or frustrating. But it's an important novel about speaking up for yourself and learning to be someone - not just a part of others. While I can't endorse it to read for pleasure, I can say you should read it to enhance your heart.
Profile Image for Carrie Ardoin.
561 reviews31 followers
August 9, 2013
Kate and her brother start a new prestigious school after the death of their mother. Their father is the new basketball coach, and everyone knows there's nothing more important to Beacon than basketball. Kate's life is changed quickly, and she becomes popular and dates one of the hottest players on the team. But things are never as they seem, and it takes a while but Kate begins to learn that sugar coating things that happen will get you nowhere in life.

While I do enjoy a book that gets into difficult social issues for teens, this one was a bit of a bore for me. Kate wasn't a particularly interesting character, and as the book went on and more things began happening to her, I just wanted to SCREAM at her. I mean I understand that this was what she thought she'd always wanted, but there's just a line where enough is enough. I, as the reader, got clues very early on that the basketball players were less than trustworthy; I couldn't believe it took Kate so long to catch on. Or maybe she did, and just wanted to ride things out for as long as they would go.

The best part of the book was Kate relationship with her brother, Brett, so I was especially disheartened when that became threatened. Brett is older and jaded when it comes to the people and environment of Beacon, and had the good sense to not associate himself with anyone Kate did. I am hoping that Kate and Brett's relationship will stay close, because they both really need each other.

I actually really did like the prose sections too; I felt that was when Kate was being the most honest with herself. It was so hard to watch and see that she KNEW certain things were bad for her, and she just couldn't find the guts to distance herself from them. It was also really, really hard to read the parts where Kate and her father interacted, especially after she told the truth about what happened to her.

Since the synopsis mentions that Kate gets assaulted, I don't think I'm ruining anything by putting that in this review--but this actually doesn't happen until well past the halfway part of the book. In that regard, it was a very slow read.

I was disappointed in the way Kate decided to release the truth--I wish she would have fought, told an adult at school, confronted those who were gossiping behind her back, ANYTHING, but I guess she did it in the best way she knew how. Hopefully things get much better for Kate and her family.
Profile Image for Andrea.
291 reviews55 followers
December 3, 2014
Every once in a while it's nice to break up the (possibility) of the world ending and people fighting for their lives with a nice lighthearted contemporary. I wouldn't call Canary a lighthearted contemporary, but the synopsis grabbed my attention immediately. Especially the line about her father wanting her to stay quiet - say what now?!

Things at the Franklin house have been tense for the last two years. After Kate's mom died, her father turned into himself and focused more so on the basketball team than her and her brother, Brett. They communicate with each other through post-it notes left around the house and rarely see their father, even when he is home.

After coaching an amazing year at the local high school, Kate's father is offered a job at the prestigious Beacon Prep and he decides both she and Brett should attend. Kate is ecstatic and easily fits in with the "cool kids." I did have a hard time connecting with Kate's new friendships because I could see who these "cool kids" truly were from a mile away and wished I could beg Kate to run away. But while 27-year-old me saw it, I bet that 15-year-old me would have had no idea, so I can't fault Kate for just wanting to fit in.

The poems scattered throughout the story enhanced my reading experience. While the story is told from Kate's perspective, the poems allow me to really get inside her head. Not just to hear her thoughts, but understand her feelings. Understand how she is dealing with the lift changing events around her. And ultimately, allow her voice to be heard.

Canary is a powerful and emotional read. As things began to spiral out of control for Kate, I just wanted to hug her and tell her it would all be okay. A bonus for Rachele is that she herself is an English teacher and knows how to connect with teenage readers. She touches on many things that teenagers today deal with - family, love, friendships, peer pressure, and everyday struggles of growing up. The writing is well done and has a great flow, making Canary a quick and fun read for even the slowest and most reluctant of readers.
Profile Image for  Lianne Mei.
607 reviews
August 27, 2015

I absolutely fell in love with the characters in this book and the whole unique plot ( typically most story's that deal with a high school are always the same story line being that its focus is the paranormal). However, I feel that at some level this book does share similarities with another novel called Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson because that novel is about a girl who is raped and then she is ostracized by her peers.

I had 40% battery life left in my kindle fire and read this straight through the day( finished it in a few hours). I loved the whole story line and was really sad about Kate's mom having passed away and I knew that it would be a bad idea for Kate to become involved with the popular crowd ( aka the basketball players). There is almost an unspoken rule that once you become involved with a popular person than if someone goes wrong that person walks away unharmed and the consequences fall on your head.

By the way everyone that plays basketball at Beacon Prep is considered to be treated like Gods and can get away with anything ( lie, cheat etc.). So with Kate's dad being the basketball coach she gets treated like royalty ( aka everyone will try to get nice with her to fulfill their own purposes of hooking up with the other teammates). Kate's brother Brett wasn't like Kate and didn't try to blend in with all of the popular kids ( as a result everyone makes fun of him). He abhorred his new school and constantly got into fights against their dad because he didn't like how their dad no longer really cared about them. I won't tell you what he chooses to do but I really wasn't surprised of the path he chose ( hint hint military recruiters at school).

More of my review on this AWESOME AND FANTASTIC BOOK( ITS REALLY LONG):http://pandabooklover1995.weebly.com/...
Profile Image for Cheryl.
217 reviews3 followers
February 26, 2015
Okay, pros:
she did a good job about telling you what it is like to go through loss (I lost my father 3 years or so ago and I cried through a good 1/3 of the book, the first part). She also did a good job showing how easy it is too get caught up in the dramas of teenage life. Obviously, the main character is too naive and gullible, but aren't we all until we are disabused of those childish notions? I liked the fighting in the book, it was more realistic for me as well, you know F*** the perfect family where everyone is always happy. Things fall apart, parents make mistakes, a lot of mistakes, and the children suffer, grow up and make a lot of different mistakes with their kids. I loved the poetry as well, I turned to that when I stopped drinking as a way to express my innermost feelings, and I thought she did a great job there.

She took too long to get to the point. As a youth I see a lot of myself in this protagonist. I was heavy into drinking, had lost a parent to divorce, and had other siblings and stepparents that I was constantly fighting with, was semipopular, have a great set of boobs, and was sexually assaulted (almost raped) at a party. So I feel like I could criticize this plot more than the average person. I was never photographed or bullied by it, I never lost friends because of it, but I do think she had a fair amount of insight to a few of the problems. MY problem with the book is that it took 300 pages to get there, 100 pages to struggle, then only 50 to semi-resolve it. Girls who struggle and need this book, need the end most of all. They don't need the build up, they are already there. Needless to say, I may read another book by her, as I did enjoy it, but it was just too little too late for me in this specific book.
Profile Image for OpenBookSociety.com .
3,834 reviews117 followers
May 30, 2013

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Valerie

Warning: Do not read this book or this review if you are under 14. Do not read it if you are not okay with mature themes. Only proceed if you know you can handle it.

This being said, Canary is one of the most touching books I’ve read so far. I entered Canary not expecting much and not knowing what to expect. I wasn’t exactly sure what Canary was about, even though I should have been well informed by the synopsis. I expected something average, but I didn’t get it. I got one of the most beautifully written books ever, both the poetry and the prose.

If you review Canary simply based off the plot, Canary is just a cliché sob story. Girl goes to prep school with her brother, girl dates a player, girl gets hurt. Girl is just too scared to stand up. Girl’s story is so boring to read, and you should not buy this book.


Canary is an internal struggle. It’s a book about personal growth and maturing. It’s about finding yourself. It’s EMPOWERING. It should be read by any girl, no matter what she usually reads. As for guys, read it too. Canary is worth it. I guarantee it.

It’s intoxicatingly lush and sad and bittersweet.

Sometimes I feel like I need a lot of words to describe a story and convince people to read it. This time I’m not going to. Canary is so much better than that. I need not convince you anymore.

Profile Image for Emily Crow.
1,102 reviews62 followers
August 31, 2014
A young adult novel about the perils of privilege. High school sophomore Kate begins school at the elite Beacon Academy, where her father is coach of the champion basketball team. When she makes friends with the popular crowd and begins dating one of the basketball players, it seems like something is finally going right in her life. Unfortunately, her new friends are a bunch of over-privileged asshats, and since the team brings glory to the school, no one is willing to stand up to them.

The topics--bullying, peer pressure and the glorification of high school athletics--are certainly timely and important, but I thought that the novel itself was just OK. Kate is an inoffensive heroine, but she was too bland and passive to truly engage me. Her relationship with Jack, the basketball player, didn't seem to go much deeper than, "He's super-hot! And he likes me! And now I'm popular!," and her female friends were more like "frenemies," so I didn't really understand why she put up with them once she saw how cruel and shallow they really were.

Despite my lukewarm reaction, I've noticed that Canary has gotten a lot of glowing reviews on Good Reads and Amazon, so maybe I'm just too far out of high school to relate to it. I can certainly understand how this tale of the triumph of kindness and decency could appeal to many readers.
Profile Image for Sarah (YA Love).
663 reviews270 followers
November 29, 2015
Flash Review originally posted on YA Love

Rachele Alpine’s debut came to my attention when I joined the Great Lakes, Great Books Award committee and was looking for titles to read. I’m happy I read Canary and see it being enjoyed by many of my students, but it left me with mixed feelings. The summary tells us that Kate is assaulted at a party and needs to do something about it despite the consequences for her father, but that doesn’t take place until nearly the end of the book. I understand the placement of this in the story because we need to understand who Kate is before she goes to Beacon Prep and who she becomes once she makes new friends, but it fell flat. I was starting to get bored with Kate’s obsession over her brother’s actions and how she felt about her friends. Once the assault happened, I was ready for more of that part of the story but instead it was rushed. This is a fast read despite the length, but it needs a little more revision. I did, however, love Kate’s blog posts. This is where the verse is tied in and it really works. I plan on using some of her blog posts in my writing lessons.
Profile Image for EDian.
124 reviews2 followers
November 11, 2013
Okay I expected this to be a predictable YA book. And it did not disappoint. Yes it is predictable, but it is a very good read. Those who read, cringed, and loved Speak will love this book too. Kate has just lost her mother and her father accepts a basketball coaching job at the prep school. Meaning his kids can go there free. Kate sees it as a chance to leave her friends behind who do not know how to deal with a friend who has lost a parent. Her brother is just pissed about it. But the truth is the kids lost both parents. Father also doesn't know how to deal so his focus is on the basketball team and there journey to state champs. At first Kate is embraced by Beacon and all those who matter. But the b-ball team has a wicked sense of entitlement, endorsed by the school, and the mean girls are the meanest. These aspects and many more make this an excellent read.
Profile Image for Nicki Markus.
Author 63 books267 followers
March 13, 2015
This is a captivating tale that addresses a lot of contemporary issues in a sensitive and thought-provoking way.

I liked the mix of prose and poetry, with sections from Kate's blog placed in between the main chapters/sections. This worked well as it gave that additional personal touch to the narration and helped to expand on her feelings.

The story moved at a good pace and held my attention from start to finish. I was really behind Kate the whole time and was happy with how things ended.

This is a well-written contemporary YA piece and an excellent debut from a new voice in the genre. I hope the author will go on to write further books as I think she has some wonderful things to say.

I received this book as a free review copy from the author/publisher.
Profile Image for Rusty Fischer.
Author 225 books330 followers
December 4, 2012
I read this gorgeous book in two major sittings -- it would have been one except I was sick!! -- and gulped it in each time I went in for more. Bittersweet and poignant, it shares a glimpse of what it's like to grow up, live, love, learn, understand, fumble, fall and eventually rise again in a modern high school setting marked by false friendships, betrayals and cruelty. Though it's fiction, it reads as nonfiction and could be, sadly, ripped straight from today's headlines. A stunning debut novel!
Profile Image for jamie.
672 reviews10 followers
February 4, 2020
2 stars - meh

The synopsis of this book is totally misleading. Yes, an assault does happen and yes there is a fallout. But only for the last 20% of the book!

This book is mostly about a girl dealing with the death of her mother and her family falling apart after that. A girl going to a new school and trying to fit in and having a boyfriend who may be worth it all.
Profile Image for Elena.
480 reviews4 followers
October 8, 2015
The story was just okay. Felt like it took a long LONG time to get to the issue (300+pages) and then it gets wrapped up really quickly (75ish pages?).

Also, I really hate the way the book is formatted. Huge text and large white spaces. Just a personal dislike.
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