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Who She Is

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  318 ratings  ·  101 reviews
In the fall of 1967, Faye Smith’s family moves to Florida to work in the orange groves, and she has to start a new school… again. She tries out for the track team, knowing her mother would never approve because of Faye’s epilepsy.

When Faye discovers she has a talent for distance running, she and her friend Francie decide to enter the Boston Marathon, even though women aren
Paperback, 280 pages
Published March 20th 2018 by Red Adept Publishing, LLC
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Diane The main character is 16, and she's interested in two boys. There are romantic scenes with both of them, but very minor. At this point in her life, sh…moreThe main character is 16, and she's interested in two boys. There are romantic scenes with both of them, but very minor. At this point in her life, she's more interested in running than romance, although she's dipping her toes in the water. Thanks for asking. (less)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  318 ratings  ·  101 reviews

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Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Faye has to move schools again, she is used to moving around a lot but it doesn’t mean she is happy.

Faye makes friends with Francie and they plan to train for the Boston Marathon, but Faye’s parents ban her from competing as they worry it will make her Epilepsy worse. Faye is undeterred and will do anything to run the Marathon.

Faye keeps having nightmares about being in a dark place and can remember living in a different house where she was looked after by another lady. But is this due to her Ep
Suze Lavender
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Faye's used to moving a lot. Her parents are farm workers and they go from place to place. It's 1967 and Faye is about to start over once more. Every time she has to begin at a new school. Faye loves running and would like to be part of a track team, but her school doesn't have a program for girls. There might be a solution to that problem, but Faye's parents don't approve of running. They want their daughter to go home directly after school and do chores. Faye's mother is afraid the running wil ...more
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, arc
Thank you so much Diane Byington for offering me a complimentary version for my honest review!

Faye Smith has lived a rather secluded life moving from one place to another with the limited number of personal items that her family is able to pack quickly. Faye is undoubtedly happy when they move to Valencia, Florida because her parents have finally agreed to stay put for a while. Shortly after starting at the school she meets another classmate, Francie, who has the same passion for running as Faye
Judi Dressler
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A real page turner! I read this book in two days because I just did not want to put it down. It starts off with a bang, and once you get into the 2nd half your heart is absolutely racing! Diane Byington wrote a thoughtful, suspenseful story about a determined teenager who overcomes obstacles and who discovers some very surprising things about herself, way more than just that she has a talent for running. I recommend it highly!
Randee Green
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I was just blown away by WHO SHE IS by Diane Byington. WHO SHE IS stars Faye Smith, a teenage girl growing up in the late 1960s. In the fall of 1967, Faye and her parents move to Valencia, Florida, to work in the orange groves as tenant farmers. Frequent moves and poverty is the life that Faye is used to. But that doesn’t mean that she’s happy with it. Faye dreams of something more for her adult life – something that takes her away from her parents and their goal to keep her with them. At h ...more
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a well-written story about a couple of high school girls from Florida determined to run in the Boston marathon in 1968 before women were allowed to run in it. There is a lot more to the story, but I wouldn't want to spoil anything. Honestly, this book is best if you don't even read the book summary.

I was disappointed that you knew something that was going on very clearly by the half way point of this book, well before the main characters did. I was also disappointed that the adults in
N.N. Light
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I've read in a long time. I connected with the MC immediately and the journey she was on soon became my own. Highly recommend!

My Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Mrs. N
Who She Is by Diane Byington subtlely twists two stories around one main character, Faye Smith, a sixteen-year-old long distance runner. First there is the story of Faye’s training to run the Boston marathon as an attempt to scape her migrant farm worker background. Second is the underlying story of Faye trying to discover who she is. She has flashbacks and nightmares and can’t figure out what triggers them.

I enjoyed the feminist aspects of this novel with Faye and her best friend training for t
Elizabeth Westmark
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Who She Is, author Diane Byington's debut novel is a stand-alone coming of age story about a young athlete learning to run her own race in the marathon obstacle course of life. Highly recommended for middle and high schoolers. That said, I'm a 66-year-old who grew up in the era Dr. Byington writes about, the late 1960's, and I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It is well-grounded in place. The small Florida town where most of the action happens is just like where I grew up. Who She Is offers a supe ...more
Aug 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, nook
Who she is⭐️

She is just an average basketball loving, volleyball hating, running loving new kid trying to figure out who she is in this stupid world of high school. All she wants to do is run but her parents want her to go to school come home and repeat the cycle but she wants to run. Running causes her to have epilepsy episodes but she doesnt care her parents care more about her health then she does or so it seems.

The writing was very simple and easy to read.

Thank you so much to red adept via
Kitvaria Sarene
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a nice surprise I found completely on accident!

When I bought the book I didn't even really look at it too closely, and so went in completely without any expectations besides it having to do with running.

Turns out to be a novel that doesn't just follow a young woman who loves to run, but takes place when females were still forbidden to enter long distance races like marathons or the olympics. I found the history background really fascinating, and can't even imagine that just such a "shor
Kim Imas
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m always excited to find a story from the authentic point of view of a teenage girl, as there are far too few of them in our popular culture. But Diane Byington’s book is that and SO much more—a complex portrait of adolescent uncertainty and family strife, a snapshot of the Deep South of the late 1960s, and a riveting tale of a talented, complicated, young woman running races at a time when that just wasn’t done. My heartbeat thundered for her, every time she ran a race. I nodded and smiled at ...more
Neg Dardashti
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Diane Byington's debut novel, Who She Is, revolves around Faye and the mystery behind her identity, as well as her determination to push against the societal expectations that bind her to the current time. The athor's mastery of storytelling kept me glued to the pages, wanting to find the answers, but not wanting the story to end. I stayed up entirely too late, reading! I would recommend this book as a must read! ...more
Emily-Jane Orford
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Being a new girl in high school is hard enough, but being the new girl that arrives mid-term is even more difficult. Especially when this new girl has had many experiences as a new girl in high schools across the country. Her parents move a lot, being itinerate farm workers. And, with a drunken, drug doped father, who often gets in trouble flirting with other men’s wives, the moves are often a necessity of survival – his survival. Faye’s a strong girl, though, and, when she hears about the track ...more
Wall-to-wall books - wendy
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book! First - this book does not read like a debut novel, it is the writings of a well seasoned author. This story is about so many things - Women's rights in sports, racism, and another issue that I will not giveaway. I loved that the author gave lots of historical facts about women in sports (or lack of) and the Boston Marathon, it was very interesting to read! I am a "runner" myself, and I use quotes because I am a "baby runner" LOL a newbie, so I do what they call interva ...more
Boundless Book Reviews
Faye Smith and her family move around a lot. Now she is in a new school, and for once she's seen a future. She decides to join the track team, but her mother is against it because Faye has Epilepsy. She is determined to keep running. When visions occur during one of her episodes, she finds out that what she knows of her family may not be the truth. Her parents say it's just a symptom of her Epilepsy, but she isn't convinced. She knows her mother is lying, but about what? She takes it upon hersel ...more
Amanda Skenandore
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love when a novel teaches me something new about history and culture and Who She Is did just that. I liked the character’s spunk and admired her determination. The author flavors the writing with just the right amount of historical details to bring to life the era without bogging down the story. A great debut!
Marcy Evick
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very good book. Covers a lot of different issues...racism, Vietnam War, Women’s right to participate in sports, running, teen issues, then there is a whole other side plot that makes this a bit of a mystery to figure out. Ends up being quite a page turner!
Ivelisse Rodriguez
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: authors-18
Who She Is is a lovely, endearing tale about Faye who wants to be one of the first women to run the Boston Marathon. As soon as you start reading, you will fall in love with Faye and will root for her until the very end. This is a genuinely heartwarming and engaging read.
Elena Mikalsen
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very inspiring story with great twists. A girl with epilepsy who wants to run a Boston marathon. Well-written, excellent plot, lovely main character. I loved every page.
Feb 04, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: booksiren
+++Thanks to BookSirens and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review+++

It is a brave thing to write a novel and I admire where and what the author was trying to say in this story about a 16 yr old who struggles with a very dysfunctional family life but who finds running as freeing as if she had wings. Byington creates something of a mystery as Faye begins to have some sort of flashback that comes to her as she runs. Who is this woman she imagines or is it he
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book very much. It made me think! I knew something wasn't right about Faye's relationship with her parents. It was fun trying to figure out what was going on!! I learned some things about the Boston Marathon that I didn't know. The struggles women have had to endure in athletics was and is a subject of great interest. I enjoy when I read or hear or see where women are able to overcome those struggles. I also enjoyed the texture of the book. So smooth and soft!! ...more
Heather Frimmer
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was so different from any book I've read and a welcome breathe of fresh air. The story follows Faye Smith, a teenage protagonist (unusual in women's fiction), on her journey to become a runner. Faye's home life is difficult. Her parents are cold and unsupportive and because of her father's hot temper and substance abuse issues, they've been forced to move more times than Faye can count. When they move to a small town in Florida, she makes friends with a girls named Francie, her first f ...more
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This book was very different than I thought it would be but it was really good. This book talks about issues that aren't usually discussed in books. Our main character Faye lives in a small town and her parents are very strict. Her parents try to keep her close and try to make her life free of stress and physical strain as possible. They do this because Faith has epilepsy and they don't want the strain to trigger any seizures. When they move and Fae becomes friends with the girl next door the tw ...more
Ritika Chhabra
Follow Just A Girl High On Books for more reviews.

Thank you BookSirens for a digital copy of this book.

"I think everybody's afraid of something. Getting older helps you do a better job of living with it."

The story takes place in 1967 when women are still not allowed to run in the Boston Marathon. Even if they register, pay their fees and do everything else needed, they are still not allowed to run with a number. Without a number, they can run all they want, of course!

But Faye Smith and her frien
Julie Kessler
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I went into this story knowing nothing about the plot. I was intrigued at every turn and thought that Diane Byington wrote a layered and beautifully heartbreaking story of a 16 year old girl with a point of view during a tumultuous time for women and minorities in American history.

Faye knew who she was and want she wanted in life, even if in the end everything she knew was wrong. She was determined, strong, smart and resourceful. As a mother I hope that my daughter will possess many of the char
Doris Wiggins
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story takes place during the 1960's. It's a tumultuous time. It's a time of harrassment between the blacks and whites. It's a time when Martin Luther King Jr. Is assassinated.
Faye is fifteen going on sixteen. She has been the new girl is a bunch of schools. Her parents travel from town to town, state to state looking for work. Her father works in orchards and fields. Both of her parents are rather harsh. Her only outlet is running and her parents disapprove of this. She will soon face majo
Julie Kessler
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I went into this story knowing nothing about the plot. I was intrigued at every turn and thought that Diane Byington wrote a layered and beautifully heartbreaking story of a 16 year old girl with a point of view during a tumultuous time for women and minorities in American history.

Faye knew who she was and want she wanted in life, even if in the end everything she knew was wrong. She was determined, strong, smart and resourceful. As a mother I hope that my daughter will possess many of the char
Aug 06, 2018 rated it liked it
I am extremely conflicted on how to rate "Who She Is" . I am going to explain my reasons in a future review on my YouTube channel. Thank you, Net Galley for giving me a free e-copy to read. xo ...more
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it

I really enjoyed the plot–that two girls were so determined to run in the Boston Marathon and that they were prepared to work hard and overcome the obstacles in their way. It was a little surprising that two high schoolers from a small town in Florida would care so much about running in the Boston Marathon, but it was a great goal for them to be working towards throughout the book. The mystery that arises from the training is interesting, and, while not super surprising, I liked how it unfo
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