Sixteen year-old Kate still reels from the recent loss of her mother. Now she and her brother Brett communicate with their emotionally-absent father through a series of post-it notes. When Dad lands a new job as basketball coach at a ritzy private school, he opts to transfer both kids to the new school.
Kate, determined to adjust and desperate to reconnect with her father, begins attending basketball practices and cheering from the stands. That’s when she meets Jack, a gorgeous and popular star player and boyfriend of any girl’s dreams. But the thrill of being Jack’s girlfriend soon loses its shine when she discovers several unsavory habits of his. Jack pressures and Kate bends, pressing herself into the mold he expects her to be. Then with one drink, everything changes. Those who should protect her wound her instead, and Kate begins to unravel.
But beneath her tumultuous emotions and failing hope, Kate finds a steel resolve within herself. Instead of being destroyed by bullying, she finds her voice and dares to make herself heard, no matter the consequences.
Canary is a raw and beautiful story. At intervals, Kate’s often poetic and poignant blog posts appear, adding another layer of depth to an already fascinating story reminiscent of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak or Sarah Dessen’s Just Listen. Fans of Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher may also enjoy this novel and its bold attention to the devastating problem of bullying in schools and communities today.
Several references to sex and some jokes about aberrant sexual behavior. A girl discusses pressure to engage in sex with her boyfriend. She succumbs to his persistent requests. At a party, a boy drugs and attempts to rape a girl who is barely able to fight him off. The scene is pretty brief and without a heavy number of details. The instance sparks rumors, rude comments, and general mistreatment toward the victim.
Brief reference to heaven in the context of a funeral conversation.
During the assault, the boy shoves the girl, bruising her. Several boys bully another boy in the cafeteria. Students also harass the assault victim.
Several scenes features parties at which teens consume alcohol. A boy slips a drug into a girl’s drink, rendering her disoriented and helpless.