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Hearts Unbroken

Hearts Unbroken

Winner of an American Indian Youth Literature Award

New York Times best-selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith turns to realistic fiction with the thoughtful story of a Native teen navigating the complicated, confusing waters of high school — and first love.

When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper.

The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town.

From the newly formed Parents Against Revisionist Theater to anonymous threats, long-held prejudices are being laid bare and hostilities are spreading against teachers, parents, and students — especially the cast members at the center of the controversy, including Lou’s little brother, who’s playing the Tin Man. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey — but as she’s learned, “dating while Native” can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey’s?

Book Details

Publisher: Candlewick
Publish Date: October 9, 2018
ISBN: 9780763681142
Language: English

About the Author

Cynthia Leitich Smith is a NSK Neustadt Laureate and a New York Times bestselling author of books for young readers, including HEARTS UNBROKEN, which won the American Indian Library Association’s Youth Literature Award. Her recent releases include the middle grade anthology ANCESTOR APPROVED: INTERTRIBAL STORIES FOR KIDS, winner of the Reading of the West Book Award for Young Readers and an ALA Notable Book, and the novel SISTERS OF THE NEVERSEA, which received six starred reviews. Both books were named to numerous “best of the year” lists. Her debut tween novel RAIN IS NOT MY INDIAN NAME was named one of the 30 Most Influential Children’s Books of All Time by Book Riot.

Her 2023 releases are the YA novel HARVEST HOUSE and the MG graphic novel the BLUE STARS: MISSION ONE: THE VICE PRINCIPAL PROBLEM, co-authored by Kekla Magoon and illustrated by Molly Murakami.

Cynthia is also the author-curator of Heartdrum, a Native-focused imprint at HarperCollins Children’s Books, and the Katherine Paterson Inaugural Endowed Chair on the faculty of the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Cynthia is a citizen of the Muscogee Nation and lives in Austin, Texas.

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