The Key to the Golden Firebird

 
5.0
 
4.2 (9)
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The Key to the Golden Firebird
Age Range
12+
Release Date
June 01, 2004
ISBN
0060541385
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The funny thing about stop signs is that they're also start signs.

Mayzie is the brainy middle sister, Brooks is the beautiful but conflicted oldest, and Palmer's the quirky baby of the family. In spite of their differences, the Gold sisters have always been close.

When their father dies, everything begins to fall apart. Level-headed May is left to fend for herself (and somehow learn to drive), while her two sisters struggle with their own demons. But the girls learn that while there are a lot of rules for the road, there are no rules when it comes to the heart. Together, they discover the key to moving on -- and it's the key to their father's Pontiac Firebird.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Three sisters come together
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
The book starts off with the three Gold sisters playing a practical joke on their neighbor Pete. Its a giddy moment of togetherness that makes the sudden and unexpected death of their father that same day stand out in stark contrast. A year later, things are already past the unraveling stage.

Brooks, the oldest, has started drinking and hanging out with a bad crowd. Palmer, the youngest, has panic attacks that she hides and an outward veneer of not caring. May, the middle child, is at her wits end trying to hold the rest of them together while their mother works nights to try and make ends meet.

Meanwhile, their fathers golden firebird sits in the garage growing more and more dusty every day.

While there is some romantic interest in this book (as Pete tries to help May learn to drive and they learn they mean more to each other than someone to pull jokes on), the story is really about the Gold sisters finally being able to move on with their lives and pull together again. The crowning moment is when they all learn to work and love together again.

Not every problem is wrapped up by the final page, but you have a sense of hope that everything is going to work out okay. I recommend this book for ages 12 and up.
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User reviews

9 reviews

 
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Funny but Sad
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Mariah

When the Gold girls father dies in his old Firebird it is left in their garage, a year later everything is falling apart can the girls pull it together?

This is an old book but I never got around to reading it before.
Maureen Johnson is one of my favorite authors because all of her books
a really funny. This book was no exception even though it had a sadder
theme than most of her other books it was still hilarious! May and her
sisters all have different personalities so it was fun to see their
transformations through different eyes not just one. This story had a
good plot and good characters. The only problem to me was that all
three girls in my opinion grieved in almost the same way and I wish they
had grieved even more differently so there would be more of a contrast. Overall a good book!

"Reprinted with author's permission"


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A Lighthearted Read About Love and Loss
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Stephanie

One minute May Gold was the average teenage girl, trying to balance being a good daughter and sister while simultaneously plotting revenge on the boy next door, her fathers best friends son Pete Camp (hint: it involves nudity). The next, shes father-less, Mike Gold the victim of a heart attack that leaves behind a struggling nurse wife and three shocked sisters, who whirl off into their own ways of dealing with the news.

A year later, things have not improved much in the Gold household. Their mother is constantly at work, and is thus unable to notice how Brooks, the eldest sister, sneaks out every night to get drunk with her boyfriend Dave and his motley crew. Palmer, the youngest, struggles to hide her panic attacks while becoming the next softball star on her high schools varsity team. And May, the middle sister, the responsible one, feels constrained by the chores laid upon her because no one else will do them.

Even worse, May fails her drivers testand May never fails any test. She has no choice but to accept Petes offer of teaching her how to drive, providing him with even more opportunities to tease her and play jokes on her. Pete has always been just Pete to May& until he starts dating her coworker. Suddenly, Mays not sure if shes comfortable with the situation. Which means& what? And what can she possibly do about it, when she and her two sisters dont know yet when they are allowed to be normal again?

The plot, while basic, comes along at the skilled hands of Maureen Johnson, who provides wit, humor, and heart aplenty for everyone. Its an easy read, but the writing will stay with you and make you yearn for more from this highly acclaimed author.
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Wonderful
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Amanda Marasco

Three sisters. Brooks, Mayzie, and Palmer, just lost their father. Brooks goes wild and starts drinking, Palmer withdraws from everyone and May is left to deal with it all. Everything is put on May's shoulders and she doesn't know how to deal with it all. In the end It's Palmer who makes the break-through for all of them.

This book showed me how important it is for sisters to be able to rely on each other and communicate. Each character was very well developed and the plot was wonderful. The story deals with a loss of a family member and that is always a hard subject.

Go and get this or any other book by Maureen Johnson
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Run away! Fast!
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Hillary

The funny thing about stop signs is that they're also start signs.

Mayzie is the brainy middle sister, Brooks is the beautiful but conflicted oldest, and Palmer's the quirky baby of the family. In spite of their differences, the Gold sisters have always been close.

When their father dies, everything begins to fall apart. Levelheaded May is left to fend for herself (and somehow learn to drive), while her two sisters struggle with their own demons. But the girls learn that while there are a lot of rules for the road, there are no rules when it comes to the heart. Together, they discover the key to moving on and it's the key to their father's Pontiac Firebird.

This critically acclaimed, totally compelling book is perfect for readers looking for both a fun ride and a lifechanging journey from one of today's best new YA writers. And it fits perfectly in the glove compartment. (From www.barnesandnoble.com)
I did not really enjoy this book. I still believe that Maureen Johnson is a great author, but I don't think this is her best work. I didn't see much of a plot and as a baseball HATER, I really disliked that portion of the book which was like...umm, about 98%. The characters were interesting and when there was some action I was totally into it. I would not recommend this book.
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very good!
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by suny

this is very good, humorous, sad with a little romance and a very good veiw on sisterhood...

three sisters, palmer, may and brooks lose their dad and try to get on with their life with the "oh, im so sorry for you" and the charity. may especially leads into trying to keep ther family together, but as they pull together-they seem to break apart

brooks Gold (the oldest)- develops an alcholic habit and quits softball even though she has played every since she could hold a bat, not to mention that she isnt really doing to well with her grades

palmer Gold (the youngest)- is in her own world and cant believe that her oldest sister had let her down by quitting the sport that their father had taught them to love, so concentrates on softball,softball,softball and softball but as she tries to foget everything...things just catch up on her.

May Gold (the middle child)- cant play softball (or any other sport really) but is the smartest and most dependable out all the Gold sisters. between her job at the cafe, school, and keeping together may has no time for a social life, or to learn how to drive, and as peter (the son of her parents' best friend, and her child hood rivalry) teaches her to drive she no longer hates him for all the stunts and pranks he pullled as a kid. infact she starts to like him- more than needed

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A Story of Healing
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by two sided freek

This exceptional story of a family that goes through a crisis and how they heal is definitely worth a read. Through the year, you see how this family and the people around them change due to the death of a loved one. The three sister, Brooke, May, and Palmer break apart, though in different ways. So start your hourney through this book as you observe the Gold sisters healing. Truly inspiring
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Touching story
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Tif

This is the story of three sisters, Palmer, Brooks, and May, dealing with the loss of their father. His death affects each of them differently, taking each girl on a roller-coaster ride in the already bumpy time of adolescence. But in the end, finding a connection to their dad through his intense love of baseball and his beloved Golden Firebird, together they find a way to begin to heal.

I really enjoyed this novel. Her portrayal of the differing effects of grief and shock on each of the girls was realistic and frank. The story shifts back and forth between the points of view of the three sisters, and every reader can find something in these characters to identify with.

This book has a lot of messages and lessons about loss and love, especially about not making assumptions about how people feel. Despite the somber topic, the story is not overly dark and ends on a positive note. It is a well-written and touching story.
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Wonderful Book
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Alexandra

The death of their father sends the three Gold sisters into a tailspin. Brooks, the oldest, starts drinking. Palmer, the youngest, withdraws herself from everyone. May, the middle sister and the responsible one, is left alone. This is okay with her, since she is busy with her job at the coffee shop and studying. The girls are in danger of becoming complete strangers when the key to their father's car, a golden Firebird, is discovered. Together the girls take a trip that brings them together and sets them at ease-- finally-- with their father's death. This book is about the the importance of family and friends when problems arise, as well as discovering who your true friends really are. A touching, but not preachy, story on the impact of sisterly bonds, this book will strike a chord with girls everywhere, whether or not they have a sister.
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Realistic book for teen girls!
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Dylana

This book was so incredibly good. You must read it if you are a teenage girl. This book is so realistic and you get to know the characters so intimately by getting into thier thoughts and emotions. It's really touching and also a whole lot of fun.
First of all, its about 3 sisters: Brooks (the oldest), May, and Palmer Gold. They just lost their father a year ago from a heart attack. They live with just there Mom and they are all really struggling emotionally and financially. The story is mostly about May and her path on finding out about who she is in life, trying to get her driver's license, her relationship with Pete and her sisters, etc. But every chapter always goes deeply into the rest of the Gold girls and their issues. Brooks and Palmer are star baseball players, but Brooks starts dating and getting drunk and decides to push baseball away. Palmer is the youngest and she feels like she's invisible and just causes others to get angry. And of course, their Mom is working day and night and worrying about her girls. May also feels as if her father never really liked her because she was the brainy one and not the sporty one, like her sisters.
Throughout the novel, May goes through ups and many downs. But she comes to realize that life isn't about being perfect and that being normal is definitely different for everyone. Pete teaches her that she is a great person with many great attributes. And she gets closer to her sisters in a hilarious way that will keep you laughing and remembering.
This book is perfect for anyone who loves reading teen fiction. If you are into books about girls like you who are struggling with plain old life, then I recoomend this book to you. Its so well-written and will keep you hooked. I loved it!
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