Winner of the 2016 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People
"It's easy to empathize with [Lily]....Throughout, first-time author Scofield creates striking images that will stay with readers."
"This is a painful and poignant story that is not for every reader; but for those ready to deal with complex realistic fiction, it has much to offer."
"Dynamic...[Protagonist Lily Asher] comes to glorious, heartbreaking, embraceable, vibrant life courtesy of the experiences, heart and immense imagination and talent of Eugene author Chris Scofield."
"Chris Scofield has written a young adult novel that doesn't compromise integrity for trendiness....It's complex and quirky...there can be no doubt as to its uniqueness."
"The Shark Curtain is worth a read by teens and adults alike."
"Absolutely bewitching....Scofield has crafted a dense, poignant book, filled with extraordinarily beautiful language....In exploring themes such as art, sex, and self-acceptance, Scofield examines the trade-offs we all make to be included in the tribe."
"Those who prefer edgy period fiction with truly original characters will be fascinated by this glimpse into the mind of an unmedicated non-neurotypical teen struggling to come of age in the '60s."
--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"The Shark Curtain...is believable and real."
--What Is Much
"Brilliant, engaging, engulfing, fulfilling, beautiful. The Shark Curtain will turn you inside out and make you see the world differently. As well you should. As well we all should. Because life isn't about having the answers, it's about grappling with the questions. Chris Scofield's fantastically fantastic novel pins the tail on the donkey with a pneumatic nail gun--I absolutely insist that you read this book!"
--Garth Stein, New York Times best-selling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain
Set against the changing terrain of middle-class values and the siren calls of art and puberty, The Shark Curtain invites us into Lily Asher's wonderful, terrible world. The older of two girls growing up in suburban Portland, Oregon, in the mid-1960s, her inner life stands in quirky contrast to the loving but dysfunctional world around her.
Often misunderstood by her flawed but well-intentioned parents, teenage Lily orbits their tumultuous love affair, embracing what embraces her back: the ghost of her drowned dog, a lost aunt, numbers, shoe boxes, werewolves, rituals, and stories she pens herself (including one about a miscarried sibling she dubs "Frog Boy"). With "regular" visits from a wisecracking Jesus, an affectionate but combative friendship is born--a friendship that strains Lily's grasp of reality as much as her patience.
From the violence of a Peeping Tom and catching Mom in flagrante delicto with the neighbor, to jungles in her closet, butlers under her bed, and barking in public, Lily struggles to balance her family's expectations with the visions that continue to isolate her.
Strange, artistic Lily Asher has frank conversations with Jesus, and after her beloved dog dies saving her life, she worries that she is growing a tail and sometimes barks and howls. Though it's not always clear what is happening in a scene, given Lily's unusual way of seeing the world, it's easy to empathize with this unreliable narrator growing up in Portland, Ore., in the 1960s, where she experiences very real traumas, including her aunt's accidental death, a peeping neighbor boy, and angry fights between her parents. This is a dense book and something of a time capsule, presenting a suburban America where Lily's mother is prescribed a "happy pill" and no one talks about the girl being sexually abused next door. Throughout, first-time author Scofield creates striking images that will stay with readers, such as when Lily meets a blind girl riding a white horse at night, or when she tries to get Jesus to stop visiting her by writing "I'M NOT HERE" in masking tape on her bedroom window. Ages 12 up.