Liars and Fools
by Robin Stevenson
Orca Book Publishers, 2010
$9.95, 246 pp, ages 12+
Fiona is a twelve-year-old girl who loves to sail, and dreams of one day sailing around the world. She used to go sailing with her mother until a sailing accident claimed her mother’s life while she was crewing on someone else’s boat nearly a year ago. Fiona’s mother’s boat, the Eliza J, is still tied-up at the marina. Fiona likes to visit the Eliza J even though her father does not think it is a good idea. It is the one place she feels close to her mother. Fiona is having a difficult time dealing with her mother’s death. She often gets angry but the anger escalates when she finds out her father is dating Kathy, the same woman who told Fiona her fortune at “The Mystic Heart Healing Center and Gift Shop.” Fiona thinks the whole psychic, fortune telling business is phony and cannot believe her Dad is dating someone who “talks to dead people.” No one talks about her mother anymore. It is as if everyone is trying to forget her. For their science project Fiona and her best friend, Abby, decide to prove that “psychic phenomena such as precognition (seeing the future) do not exist,” and that Kathy is a liar and a fraud. Fiona’s anger builds and builds—against Kathy, against her father, and against Abby. Fiona pushes everyone away and constantly makes nasty, spiteful remarks to those around her. It reaches a point that even Abby has had enough. Fiona goes to the marina to seek solace on the Eliza J, only to discover there is a “Sold” sign hanging on the boat. Desperate to sail the Eliza J one more time, Fiona decides to take the boat out on her own for one last trip. It is smooth sailing for awhile but the weather changes quickly and this could be a last trip for Fiona in more ways than one.
Liars and Fools is a story of the grief and the anger people feel when someone they love has died. When Fiona eventually comes to terms with her anger, she realizes she can now start to move on with her life, and that her mother will be with her always. With the Eliza J gone, Fiona stands on the dock gazing at the “water and the misty gray horizon,” knowing there will be other boats and she will one day fulfill her dream, just as she knows “the sea would wait for her.”
Review by Julia Rank.
This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s May/June 2011 issue.