Books·Canadian

Chicken Girl

A YA novel by Heather T. Smith.

Heather T. Smith

Poppy used to be an optimist. But after a photo of her dressed as Rosie the Riveter is mocked online, she's having trouble seeing the good in the world. As a result, Poppy trades her beloved vintage clothes for a feathered chicken costume and accepts a job as an anonymous sign waver outside a restaurant. There, Poppy meets six-year-old girl Miracle, who helps Poppy see beyond her own pain, opening her eyes to the people around her: Cam, her twin brother, who is adjusting to life as an openly gay teen; Buck, a charming photographer with a cute British accent and a not-so-cute mean-streak; and Lewis a teen caring for an ailing parent, while struggling to reach the final stages of his gender transition. As the summer unfolds, Poppy stops glorifying the past and starts focusing on the present. But just as she comes to terms with the fact that there is good and bad in everyone, she is tested by a deep betrayal. (From Penguin Teen)

Chicken Girl is available in March 2019.

From the book

I had one leg in the feathery yellow costume my boss called a uniform when Cam stomped into my room like a runway model on crack and thrust his chest out at the end of my bed.

"Pops? Be honest. Do I have" — he paused for effect — "moobs?"

It was a running gag, our use of word blends. He was obviously trying to one-up me after I'd used automagically earlier that day.

"Nice try," I said. "But if it doesn't fit organically into a conversation it doesn't count."

He looked down at his torso. "If you must know, the development of man boobs are a genuine concern of mine."

I gave his naturally athletic body a once-over. "Pfssh. Yeah, right."

I stepped into the other leg of my costume. "Now, if you'll excuse me. I'm running late and don't have time for this meaningless" — I paused for effect — "nonversation."

He groaned in defeat. "Damn you, Poppy."

I was almost out the door when he said, "Pops?"

I turned around. "Yeah?"

"I love seeing you happy."

And just like that, the smile fell from my face.

"What's wrong, Pops?"

My sweet Cam. Didn't he know? Happiness was only temporary.

I put on my head. "I'm fine. I'm late, that's all."

It was true.

I only had ten minutes before I had to be curbside holding a sign: Hot and spicy chicken wings, $8.99 a dozen.


From Chicken Girl by Heather T. Smith ©2019. Published by Penguin Teen.

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