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The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins

4.70  ·  Rating details ·  47 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.

A Southern MG debut about a history-loving girl, Lyndon Baines Hawkins, whose relentless, hilarious, and heartbreaking search for the truth puts her in direct opposition to her fusspot grandmother’s need to keep up appearances. Lyndie knows lots about history: she can tell you who President Lincoln’s best friend
Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: March 26th 2019 by Kathy Dawson Books / Penguin
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Gail Shepherd Yes, it has been substantially revised and retitled and is now slated for February 2019.

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4.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  47 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Jess Redman
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg-debut
“I think the truth is a place you can only move toward, like walking toward the horizon. Even though you know you’ll never get all the way there.”

So says Lyndie B. Hawkins, the quick-tempered, quick-witted, and completely endearing main character and narrator of this story.

Lyndie, an 11-year-old historian-in-the-making, is in the “category of people who ask questions.” She wants to know why she and her parents have to live with her appearances-are-everything grandmother Lady. She wants to know
Mar 15, 2019 rated it liked it
*Review is of an advanced reader copy

There has been a recent spate of middle grade novels about the Vietnam War. Add The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins to that growing list. Unlike the other books I have read, Lyndie's story occurs over a decade after the war. Set in Tennessee in 1985, author Gail Shepherd writes about a young girl, name d for President Lyndon Baines Johnson, with a penchant for history, particularly in regards to the Civil War. When Lyndie's father loses his job the family i
Kelly Coon
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Good gravy, The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins is an incredible read. Gail's prose is witty beyond belief and not in a slapstick kind of way. It's more of a Celeste Ng kind of wit, where it gets you right in the gut and you're snort-laughing and waking everyone up in the house. But this book isn't just a funny tale. It deals with PTSD, grief, alcoholism, family, and friendship in a heart-wrenching look at everything from war to foster care and the many and varied ways we can all hurt and heal ...more
Ms. Yingling
Jan 18, 2019 rated it liked it
ARC provided by the publisher

Lyndie is not happy that she has to move into her grandparents' house along with her mother and father in 1985. Her father has lost his job under circumstances she doesn't understand, and seems to be drinking more than her grandmother, Lady, would deem wise. Her mother, who normally takes great pride in gardening, prefers to stay in bed. Lyndie has to head back to her private school (that's where nice girls go, says Lady), where she has a good friend in Dawn, whose f
Joshua Levy
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An extraordinary book that proves, over and over, just what can be accomplished in middle grade. Lyndie's life isn't easy: She has to navigate around and through friends and family who don't always make the road easy. Her parents are suffering, deeply; and her grandmother, Lady, values the Hawkins's privacy above all else. And that disconnect--between what Lyndie is going through and what she is allowed to confront and share--leaves her alone in more ways than one.

Alone, but not powerless. With
Naomi Milliner
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's hard to believe Gail Shepherd is a debut novelist. This book is written with such skill and grace, surely she's written a slew of others before it. The title hero(ine) could not be more engaging or endearing, as she navigates her way through a confusing world of truths and lies - often finding herself trapped between the two. Even as she struggles to make tough choices, her heart is always in the right place. Both the heroine, and her story, will stay with you a long time after you turn the ...more
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
PTSD, depression, family secrets, "the proper way" to do things, hilarious dialogue/narration/insights. Well done!
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, kids
Lyndie B. Hawkins loves history and loves the truth, even though she understands the two can have a complicated relationship at times. Lyndie searches for the truth in many places — about her family, about a friend at school, about war and its aftermath — with an indomitable spirit and a rich, unforgettable voice. There are so many things to love about this book, but I have a big soft spot for the friendship with Dawn.

Read this book! You will love seeing Lyndie change, grow, and find her truths
Remy Lai
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a gorgeous book about family, loyalty and friendship. And I love how all those things are seamlessly weaved into history. And you'll love the quick-witted Lyndie!
Lisa Ramee
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh, how I loved this MG novel. The way Shepherd weaves in history, into such an important story about family, and loyalty and friendship and problems that can be so difficult for anyone let alone a preteen understand. Lyndie's battles with her anger, her grandmother and Pee Wee are so true to life and I feel so hard in love with Lyndie and how desperately she wanted her life to be "normal" and her family to be whole.
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This story of 11-year-old Lyndie Baines covers a lot of territory, but it is primarily about truth and the effect of lies or sometimes just not knowing the truth. The novel also shares the effects of war on those who serve, their families, and their communities.

Lyndie’s father, his friends, and neighbors served in the war in Viet Nam. Some never returned, some returned with physical scars, and others, like Lyndie’s dad, returned with psychological scars, scars which affect their families and liv
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lyndie is a spunky young junior high school girl growing up in the 80s. She moves in with her grandparents along with her mom who spends most of her time in bed and her dad who has come back from Vietnam not quite right. Lyndie immediately clashes with her strong willed grandmother, Lady who is very strict and has a lot of rules. Lyndie gets into a series of adventures that involve cutting school, befriending wildlife and becoming friends with a boy with an dark past. The book is well written an ...more
Lillian Clark
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what a truly wonderful book.

Lyndie loves history. She's a researcher, pushing past convenient fictions, looking for the (sometimes ugly) heart of a matter. She's also an eleven (going on twelve) year-old girl with a family in turmoil. A turmoil that, as she's told repeatedly by her grandmother Lady, must be kept private. Except, that privacy often extends even to Lyndie, pulling her tight into a tornado she twirls along with yet doesn't entirely understand.

I could talk on and on about how
Nikki Barthelmess
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It isn't often you find a book that really has you hurting and smiling at the same time. Gail Shepherd has woven complicated emotions and relationship dynamics into a heartwarming tale about loss and love, grief and hope, and what it means to be loyal. In Lyndie, we have a witty, make you laugh-out-loud protagonist who you can't help but cheer for. This book is a must-read.
Lisa Schmid
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novel19s
Wow! That's the first word that comes to mind after reading this book. Gail Shepherd has written a beautiful novel about friendship, loyalty, and family. There is a lovely cadence to Ms. Shepherd's writing that lulls you into the story and never lets you go. Bravo!
Quinn Sosna-Spear
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
THE TRUE HISTORY OF LYNDIE B. HAWKINS is such a clever book. Shepherd is whip-smart and embeds her brilliance in both her dialogue and structuring. She will manage to make you laugh and cry as you relate to this one-of-a-kind kid and her equally one-of-a-kind family.

We gladly roll through Lyndie's trials and tribulations with her as she grows and learns. It reminds you of being a child in such a potent way that you can smell summer and your grandparent’s house when you read it.

It’s not only a
Nicole Melleby
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a gorgeous debut that handles PTSD, depression, and complicated family relationships and secrets in such a graceful, careful and poignant way. Gail is absolutely a debut novelist to watch. I'll be thinking about Lyndie and her family for a long while.
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the author for sharing this book. All opinions are my own. I’ll be sharing this book with @kidlitexchange, so watch for more reviews coming soon.

Lyndie has a very happy life. She loves history, her dog, the library and her best friend, Dawn. She lives in a perfect white cottage with her mom and dad and they go on lots of adventures together researching the history that surrounds their small town of Love Forge TN in 1985. But this all suddenly changes when her daddy loses his job. Th
Andrea Doyon
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lyndie is an intelligent, headstrong, sassy soul. She should be; she was named after President Lyndon B. Johnson. Her life was going just fine, with few rules and restrictions from her parents, when her family is uprooted to live nearby with her classically Southern grandparents. Her grandmother, Lady, has her mind set on taming Lyndie's wild spirit and making her a proper Southern lady. The real problem for Lyndie? She doesn't know why they had to move in the first place. Now her dad is pacing ...more
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
@kidlitexchange #partner Thank you to @gailshepherdauthor, @penguinkids, @kathydawsonbooks, and the #kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Eleven-year-old Lyndie B. Hawkins has just packed up her belongings and moved in with her grandparents. Her father, a Vietnam vet, has been out of work for awhile, and her mom is constantly sleeping off headaches. After Lyndie and her father go on an unapproved overnight trip, her father spirals out of control. Lyndi
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I adored this book. Lyndie is my hero! (And the girl I wish I was when I was younger.) She's brave but vulnerable, a sensitive kid whose family is going through a rough time. She and her whole family felt so real to me and Shepherd did such a fantastic job depicting a family in crisis. Lyndie's beloved Dad, a Vietnam vet, is struggling and lost, and it's clear they all wish they could turn back time, set the dial to "normal." It was amazing and heartbreaking to watch Lyndie navigate her new real ...more
Rajani LaRocca
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a heartfelt, many-layered middle grade book! Lyndie B. Hawkins is a spunky historian in the making who, through the course of this story, realizes that the truths she seeks to uncover are nuanced and sometimes difficult. The voice is incredible, and the close-knit (although often dysfunctional) family and the friendships depicted here made me smile and tear up at times. This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking book about the lies that are told to us, the lies we tell ourselves, and how to ...more
Jennifer Camiccia
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book from the first line! Lyndie’s love of history and how she uses it to try and make sense of her family’s changed circumstances makes this delightfully charming story hard to put down. I love the setting—the south with its eccentricities that I love reading about—and the way it feels like it could be my home town. This book is going down in the history books for sure!
Jenni Walsh
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
What an exceptional voice Gail Shepherd has created in her debut. I feel her writing and Lyndie's voice were my favorite elements of the story, which I believe will make Lyndie's difficult choices and the difficult topics addressed in this novel very accessible to our youngsters. I look forward to what story Gail lends her amazing writing to next!
Michele Knott
This story about family and loyalty, that also takes a look at addiction and PTSD, is one that will pull on your heartstrings. You’ll think about Lyndie and D.B. long after the last page.
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Mar 24, 2018
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May 27, 2018
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I’ve known I wanted to be a writer since I was nine years old and authored our school Thanksgiving play—“Poor Mr. Turkey.” But the road to actually publishing a novel has been long and winding. I’ve been a food writer, a teacher, a poet, a book reviewer, an editor, a columnist. One of my first jobs was as a reader for a paperback publisher in London. I also published an independent newspaper with ...more