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Rabbit Ears

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  221 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Kaya is adopted, multiracial, grieving the death of her father—and carrying a painful secret. Feeling ill at ease with her family and in her own skin, she runs away repeatedly, gradually disappearing into a life of addiction and sex work. Meanwhile, her sister, Beth, escapes her own troubles with food and a rediscovered talent for magic tricks. Though both girls struggle t ...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published March 18th 2014 by HarperCollins
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Average rating 3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  221 ratings  ·  53 reviews

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Rebecca McNutt
Rabbit Ears is an amazing and triumphant story of two girls who overcome death, abuse and mayhem by finding their talent. Unfortunately while one of them does very well, the other has some serious trouble. Realistic, vibrant and haunting, this book is one that everyone should read.
Mar 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
**TW: This book deals with rape abuse and addictions**

My 7th book in White Pine, I finished this in a day because it was super short. I was left really confused on how I felt, I didn't enjoy what I read but I feel like others might want to read this. When I picked up this book, I had no idea what this was about and was shocked when I read the first few pages. All I was thinking was, what have I gotten into?

Kaya is living in an adopted household with a loving mother and sister named Beth. Ever since their fath
Feb 12, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
1-1.5 stars

trigger warning - addiction, abuse

Not going to lie - I only finished this book because it's a white pine nominee. The majority of the time I was really confused because of the style (written alternatively in 2nd person + 1st person) and some sentences were awkward. As a result, the ideas weren't clearly communicated at times. Personally, I didn't really find the plot convincing/real, same with some of the characters (I also had trouble relating to the character
Dec 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 2.5/5
***Minor spoilers***

Kaya doesn't act like the other girls in her grade. While they're home asleep in their beds, she leaves to party and do who knows what else. Sometimes when they're in school, she takes a bus downtown just because she feels like it. She's running from something, but we don't know what - is it the grief from her father having died from cancer? Is she unhappy with her family? After going downtown for a while, she takes the bus
Adriyanna Zimmermann
Actual rating 4.5/5 stars.

When I finished this book all I could think was wow. Just wow! Even though Kaya’s story is fiction, the author has weaved in true stories of Vancouver’s missing women and that builds up such an emotional response in the reader. The characters of Rabbit Ears have their own deep, dark painful secrets; the more you read, the closer you are to figuring out what those are. I couldn’t help asking myself is this the story of a survivor or someone who couldn’t get out. Rabbit
Jun 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Maggie deVries writes young adult books, and I would say that this novel could be read by anyone and everyone. When abuse and prostitution and drugs leave so many families in tatters, this book helps the rest of us understand what is likely happening in those homes. Cover says "Inspired by the true story of one of Vancouver's missing women.". So sad.
Anita Daher
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Maggie writes with grace and compassion about young people in difficult circumstance. Rabbit Ears is about thirteen-year-old Kaya who was adopted as a toddler into what has recently become a single parent family, finds herself drawn to Vancouver’s Downtown Lower East Side, drug use and prostitution. The story is told through alternating perspectives: of Kaya, and of the sister left behind, Beth. Though the work is fiction, those who know Maggie’s story, and that of her sister, Sarah, will suspec ...more
Allie Kasprzak
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rebecca (Unbound Pages)
This review is also on my blog, The Library Canary.

***I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way changed my opinion of the book. The review below is my open and honest opinion.***

This book was a powerful and moving story that brought me to tears. Kaya’s story had me feeling raw by the end. I wanted to reach into this book and help her so badly, but there was nothing that anyone really could do. Kaya had to figure thin
Jun 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Reviews and more at The Sirenic Codex

I don't know how to review this book. I will make one thing clear: this book is a gem. It deals with issues all too relevant to YA readers.

I could tell you I cried, but that has happened before and will happen again. What makes Rabbit Ears so different is that the sadness isn't the cathartic type. I'm not going to cry, feel better, and move on with my life. This story is going to stick. And it hurts to read a story like this. It hurts so much because of
Jul 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing

See more reviews at Words Read & Written

Wow… I haven’t read a book like this in a very long time. Books like this make me realise how fluffy and shallow a lot of young adult books are. Because this… This was haunting, powerful, devastating and unlike anything I’ve devoured in… well, ever.

What I didn’t like about it:
Rabbit Ears is written in alternating point of view. Kaya’s sections were written in second person and Beth’s were written in first. I didn’t hate the style, but there were a c
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This novel is incredibly powerful. Reminiscent of Melvin Burgess' Junk and the infamous Christiane F, it tells the story of Kaya who spirals deeper and deeper into Vancouver's drug scene. Told from both the perspective of Kaya and her sister Beth, it is an eye-opening account into what could possibly lead a young teenager to run away from home.

And even though Kaya's story is told from a second person narrative (Beth's is first person) it still hits home. At first I thought it was distant a
Melissa (YA Book Shelf)
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
A powerful, short read from the perspectives of two sisters: one is Kaya, a 13 year old who is carrying a painful secret, which makes her feel out of place at home at school. The other is Beth, her 16 year old sister, who often feels at once jealous of the attention Kaya gets, and protective of her.

While on the streets in Vancouver's Eastside, Kaya meets Sarah, a sex worker and heroin addict, who tries to warn Kaya about the new threat in their neighbourhood, one that causes a growing number of
Ashley Anne
Aug 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
View all of my reviews at The Caffeinated Booknerd

Thank you to Edelweiss for providing me with a eBook copy of this book for review.

My thoughts:

Right from the start of this story you can tell that Kaya is very troubled and essentially lost. Her story is told in second person and it makes me read a little more carefully to ensure that I truly understand why she is making the decision she is making at all times.

Kaya's older sister Beth is a second narrator in the story
Septimus Brown
Dec 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was on the reading list for my young-adult fiction class in the summer of 2014. (UBC, MFA program in creative writing.) The class was taught by Annabel Lyon, and she invited Maggie de Vries to come and talk to us. I loved the book, and I found Maggie very engaging, such that I enrolled in her own YA Fiction course the following semester.

Maggie de Vries is perhaps best know for her memoir Missing Sarah, which is about her sister Sarah de Vries who was one of the many women murder
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay. Not an easy read subject matter wise but an easy read in language and length. This is just over 200 pages long but it packs a hard wallop for that brevity. Meanwhile the whole time you're reading it you know this is based on a true story. The author's sister was a girl like Kaya, who had many experiences like Kaya. The author's sister makes an appearance in the book as a character of the same name (Sarah); the real life Sarah was one of Robert Picton's victims.

Another hard hitt
Steve R
Jan 28, 2016 rated it liked it
A poignant story of a single-mother household with two daughters: one who is drawn to the seedy side of prostitution and drugs in Vancouver, and the other, a binge-eater who fancies herself a magician. The main emphasis is on Kaya, the adopted multiracial young girl and her attempts to find some kind of peace after being horrificly abused by an elderly gentlman in her neighborhood. A lot of her inner frustration and destructive motivation would have been more understandable had the author reveal ...more
Sep 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
I know this book is listed as young adult, but as someone working in the helping professions, this book spoke directly to the adult in me. I felt powerfully connected to the story and to the characters. This book is sincere and ever courageous. The message is important, and it works, because the story takes precedence and the author is ever sensitive to the tender humanity that exists and persists, even in the darkest moments. She reminds of this - that even in a world of pain, care and life con ...more
Jan 09, 2017 rated it liked it
This was very difficult to read, but well-written and you can tell how personal it is for the author. 3 stars because I found the ending a bit too neat, and the last chapter's change in style was jarring.
It is something else to read fiction based in your city, indeed the very neighbourhood where you work. In some ways I could see how de Vries wishes her own story went. It's fiction, but it's real life. Which makes the pain and injustice within these pages that much harder to process. Even so, t
Michelle Barker
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-reads, ya
I would like to say that I consumed this book over approximately one day, but I think it's more proper to say that it consumed me. The story of Kaya is compelling, heartbreaking, terrifying for any parent to contemplate - and, ultimately (thank goodness), redemptive. The author takes risks, not only with the material but also stylistically by choosing second POV for Kaya. I sensed fairly quickly why she had made this choice and found that it was a good choice, maybe even the only choice possible ...more
Nov 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was perfect. To be honest, it was really scary. It's definitely very realistic and down to earth so if you're not a fan of fantasy, this is the perfect book for you. It talks about a girl who runs away and she lives on the street. It talks about the struggles she goes through and different things that happen to her on the street. We also learn about her past that makes her want to run away. It also goes to the perspective of her older sister. I especially liked how the main character u ...more
May 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
This was not an easy read, but I think it is an important one. It's hard to say you "liked" or "loved" a book like this. It's so raw and visceral and doesn't leave the reader with any pat resolutions or easy answers. Although it is fiction, it reads like nonfiction. This could be very important for not just teen readers, but any readers struggling with abuse and addiction. As far as content, there is strong language, drug use, sexual abuse, rape and other sexual situations. I would not say it is ...more
May 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Going in, I expected this book to be difficult to read. The story of Kaya's abuse, and survival on the streets of Vancouver, was indeed horrifying and heartbreaking, but I ultimately found Rabbit Ears hard to put down, and I read it in the space of 24 hours. De Vries manages to convey the gritty world of sex workers and heroin addicts without being vulgar or explicit. And while the true story of De Vries' sister, which inspired this book, ended in tragedy, Rabbit Ears leaves the reader with hope ...more
Farida Basawad
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
sad one, this book gives a whole different viewpoint of the world ... It's intense, devastating, most of all made me wish I could comfort the main character (Kaya). Since It's based on a true story, my heart aches for all those going through such an experience. The alternating POV gave me the raw and honest emotions that both Kaya and Beth felt. The theme is intense and a very heavy subject on my account. I've never read a book that left me with all these thoughts. Nevertheless each book has it' ...more
Jul 17, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a YA book that deals with a runaway, prostitution and a history of child sexual abuse. I was surprised at its explicitness, maybe it should come with a warning label, but it seems like it could help reach or teach. The POV switches between a troubled girl and her sister who is left dealing with all the family's disruption. One confusion for me was the choice to use second person for much of the narrative, which is very unusual for any novel, but this is actually explained later. The aut ...more
Mar 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely incredible! Such a page turner, a mystery that keeps you reading. One of two books that I've read about sexual abuse with Rabbit in the title. This one fiction but based on reality, the other is called When Rabbit Howls. As someone who works in the VAW field I highly recommend both books for frontline service providers. Neither book is easy to read emotionally but both are worth the effort.
Lee Födi
Jan 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a very tough book to read due to the subject matter, further complicated by the fact that it draws on some very personal experiences by the author. Yet, it is a powerful book. It's skillfully written with a fascinating use of the second-person point of view. I loved this aspect of the book, and it's a profound moment in the plot when that point of view shifts. I've chosen to share this book with my teenaged creative writing students because of this interesting stylistic decision.
May 13, 2015 rated it liked it
I really liked this one but I think it had some problems with it...of course I can't expect any book to encapsulate every experience, but I think this one made some good points that later fell a bit flat. Still an amazing read, especially as one for teens about the realities of sex work and the "outsider" lifestyle.
Enid Wray
Dec 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wow. Another window into the gritty life in Vancouver's downtown east side, and the harrowing life of too many young girls who end up there for one reason or another. That the author brings a first person connection to the story just makes it that much more heartbreaking. Raw, visceral, and unflinching in it's description of the horrors of the life, this is a must read book.
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