Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group


Valerie Hobbs

Square Fish



Trade Paperback

Eleven-year-old Toby Steiner wants to do normal things on his vacation. He wants to hike and race his bike down the hill. He wants to learn to fish out on the lake. He doesn't want to return to the children's hospital where his painful cancer treatment finally ended. When Toby starts spending time with Pearl, a spunky old woman who lives on a nearby farm, and Blossom, her broken-down cow, he sees all the more reason to keep the new lump on his side a secret from his parents. From Pearl he discovers the beauty of poetry, and from Blossom he just might uncover the meaning of life.

Illinois Rebecca Caudill YR Choice Award ML, School Library Journal Best Books of the Year, Kansas William Allen White Award Master List, TN Intermed Volunt State Book Award ML, School Library Best Books of the Year, Kentucky Blue Grass Award Master List, Tennessee Intermediate Volunteer State Book Award Master List, Kirkus Reviews Editor's Choice, Georgia Children's Book Award Master List (University of GA), Oklahoma Book Award Master List, Iowa Children's Choice Award Master List, ASPCA Henry Bergh Award, Missouri Mark Twain Award Master List, Florida Sunshine State YR Award ML, Maine Student Book Award Master List, Illinois Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Choice Award Master List, Indiana Young Hoosier Award Master List, GA Picture Storybook Award ML, Florida Sunshine State Young Readers Award Master List


On the third morning after they'd settled into the cabin, Toby had felt it again. It was in the same spot on his right side, a slippery marble. He'd jumped out of bed and hurried into his clothes, covering it up.
His mom had been standing...


Praise for Defiance

“Real and poignant.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“Beautiful and gripping . . . The victory of the human spirit shines through Defiance like the sun.” —Suzanne Fisher Staples, Newbery Honor–winning author of Shabanu

“Emotionally satisfying. Hobbs, a gifted writer, does a quietly effective job of dramatizing the life-affirming power of both poetry and a cross-generational friendship.” —Booklist

“The wit and wisdom of poetry give this potentially sentimental plot depth and a welcome acidity. Hobb's dry humor is deliciously evident in Pearl's ironic take on things.” —The Horn Book

“A poetic tale of empowerment with gentle touches of humor.” —School Library Journal

“This simple, touching story offers great characterization.” —Voice of Youth Advocates

“This gripping story will send fans searching for this author's previous books.” —SIGNAL Journal

“A heartwarming story of self-discovery.” —A YALSA Teen YA Galley Reader

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Valerie Hobbs

Valerie Hobbs is the recipient of the 1999 PEN/Norma Klein Award, a biennial prize that recognizes "an emerging voice of literary merit among American writers of children's fiction." She is the author of young adult and middle-grade novels including Sheep, Anything but Ordinary, and The Last Best Days of Summer. She holds a B.A. and an M.A. in English from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she has taught academic writing. Valerie lives in Santa Barbara, California, with her husband.

Valerie Hobbs

From the Publisher

Square Fish

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