Ellen Fremedon: Volunteer
Written by Joan Givner
Publication Date February 15, 2007
Thirteen-year-old Ellen Fremedon is not looking forward to summer. Her best friend Jenny is going away to art school, and none of her usual projects seem like very much fun anymore. She isn't thrilled when she considers all the ways she could spend her time: hanging out with her obnoxious twin brothers, reading to the brats in the summer reading program at the library, gardening for her fussy neighbors, or maybe taking on some more chores at home since the housekeeper has left and her wheelchair-bound mother suffers from multiple sclerosis.
Things look bad for Ellen, and then, to add insult to injury, she's roped into visiting the senior citizens at Peacehaven, the local retirement home. But the experience proves to be far from boring when she meets her match in Mr. Martin, a blind, rude old man who is even crankier than Ellen. Maybe summer won't be a complete bust after all.
Selected for the CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens 2008 2008
Joan Givner, a former university English professor, is an author and book reviewer who has written a dozen books of biography, autobiography and fiction, including Katherine Anne Porter: A Life and the novels Half Known Lives and Playing Sarah Bernhardt. The books in her Ellen series have been nominated for several awards. Joan lives on Vancouver Island in Mill Bay, a small seaside town not unlike Partridge Cove.
"...an excellent resource for teachers to use when talking about the benefits of volunteering..." Resource Links
"...In [the] third book, in what can only hope is to be an extended series - a baker's dozen, perhaps? - Ellen returns as she began, an original, a most appealing one, and a burgeoning social activist. She is deftly drawn, as is the supporting cast of characters." Globe and Mail
"...the sensitive, thoughtful, and at times humorous story of a teenager's unwitting journey of self discovery...Readers...who have messy rooms and huge library fines, who have a weakness for raspberry smoothies and double-dip cones, who feel parents and adults pick on them, who have ever washed their jeans with a book certificate prize in the pocket, or who don't like how they look in photographs will identify and connect with Ellen." CM Magazine
"Ellen is a great character...articulate, thoughtful, inquisitive and sensitive." Brandon Sun
"Givner writes with verve and humour...clever, thoughtful and sees life from a kid's-eye view." Toronto Star
"The strongest quality of this book is its characterization of Ellen. Her imperfections...make her likeable, while her more serious woes, such as her multiple sclerosis and her family's poverty, give her depth." Quill & Quire
"This latest offering about Ellen brims with intriguing characters whose ordinary exteriors stand in sharp contrast to their back stories...This story can stand alone, and should be popular with readers looking for a thoughtful mystery." Booklist
"...a very sweet story..." Reviewers of Young Adult Literature