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Heather Smith Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Agony of Bun O'Keefe (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Heather Smith is a writer originally from Newfoundland. She spent a lot of her young life wrestling with words. She was a reluctant reader and struggled with pronouncing words and speaking too. She was not able to pronounce certain words, but Heather put a special effort into knowing many alternate words. She became like a thesaurus, swapping words she could not pronounce with words that she could.

Even though Heather had a rough start with words, that difficulty turned into a strong relationship and a love of writing. Heather enjoys now grabbing words tight with both hands and finding a voice to put them to the page instead of avoiding them. She currently lives in Waterloo in Ontario with her three children and husband. Smith says that her roots and time spent on the east coast inspire a lot of what she writes.

Heather Smith is the author of Baygirl, her but novel published by Orca Book Publishers in 2013. It was described by Quill and Quire as balanced and well-written. It also was nominated for the 2015 White Pine Award for an Honour Book. Her second novel is called The Agony of Bun O’Keefe and was published in 2017 by Penguin Random House Canada. She has two children’s books in the work, including Ebb & Flow, a verse novel for children in the middle grades. The second is a picture book that is titled Angus All Aglow.

In Baygirl, Kit is the main character. She’s moved from her old city to a new one, but unfortunately, nothing has changed in the process. Kit’s old life was really bad, and now it’s getting to the point where it’s far worse. This is because Kit’s father struggles with alcoholism. Not only is he a drunk, but her mother enables it and cannot find it within herself to stand up for herself or them. So the problem goes on and on with no solutions.

They grew up in a fishing village in Newfoundland where everyone makes their living off of the sea. This picturesque village should be the perfect place for a teenager to grow up, but having an alcoholic for a father means that life there is anything but ideal. His disease and dependence on alcohol make day after day not only unpredictable but intolerable too. He is a bad drunk and when he has alcohol in his system he breaks things, yells, and swears.

When a moratorium on cod fishing for two years means that her father is now out of a job, and from there the tension between him and the rest of the family grows. Kit’s father has never provided them with a particularly good life, but being fired means that she has to leave behind her mentor and best friend Nan and leave Parson’s Bay behind forever.

Her family leaves the community in the village because they need to find work. So the entire family moves to the city to live with their Uncle Iggy. He is a widower who is not the most adjusted person, and they are out of the frying pan into the fire. The problems continue and Kit can’t even afford new clothes, so she goes to school looking shabby.

Even though Kit is in a completely new school in a new city, her problems are still the same. The scenery may change, but it seems like Kit’s father is never going to ditch the booze completely. When her father starts drinking even more and shows up drunk to his wife’s work (getting her fired from even that part-time job), things go from bad to worse. Kit does find solace in a friendship with the British neighbor next door named Reginald.

Even though Kit is immediately labeled as a ‘baygirl’ when she moves to her school and has problems fitting in with the other kids her age, it all begins to slowly turn around. When she meets a boy named Elliot and he shows interest in her, it’s then that all of her misery and suffering becomes clear.

Elliot is sweet and when he becomes her boyfriend he makes an effort to write her poetry, and she starts to see beyond her immediate problems– and how much of a trust issue she really has. Even though her father can’t seem to put down the bottle, her uncle is slowly getting out of depression, and things do seem like they are starting to improve. But will Kit be able to have a normal life, or will her father’s problems overshadow everything? Pick up Baygirl to find out.

The Agony of Bun O’Keefe is the second book written by Heather Smith. This is the story of a fourteen-year-old girl who runs away from her home to go to the city. Her mother weighs 300 pounds and is a hoarder who tells her to get out of the house one day– so she does. Bun has no idea when her birthday is, but she suspects that she shares it with Elvis. Her mother lights a candle for Elvis’s birthday and that becomes her birthday too.

This story is set in Newfoundland in the eighties. Bun has never menstruated because of how malnourished she is. Her foods include saltines, canned sausage, Cherry Coke, and cheese wrapped in plastic. She is invisible to her mother, who has not even celebrated Christmas since her father left. Bun doesn’t go to school and has very few social skills.

When she goes to the city, a street musician takes her in. He lives with an interesting group of people, including a drag queen with a sad background, a dishwasher at the hotel who dreams of being a chef, a school girl who is trying to reinvent her image, and a man that Bun is instructed to avoid.

Bun learns a lot more about her roommates and has new experiences that expand her world. Bun eventually finds the family that she never had in this group of misfit toys, and together they navigate what it means to be human and navigate the emotions of what we have been through and what we go through today. They even help her be more social and in them, she finds the support she has always wanted. Check out this touching novel for yourself to see how the story unfolds!

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