“Finneyfrock’s background as a poet is evident, and she makes Starbird’s perceptions come alive, whether it’s the smells and sounds of the farm or the high school morning rush. Readers will feel like they’re experiencing every step of Starbird’s eye-opening journey firsthand.”– Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Starbird Murphy and the World Outside, Viking Children’s Books, 2014.
In her sixteen years of life, Starbird has never touched a dollar bill. She’s never been in a car. She’s never used a cell phone. That’s because Starbird has always lived on the Free Family Farm, a commune in the woods of Washington state. But all that is about to change. When Starbird gets her “Calling” to be a waitress at the Free Family’s restaurant in Seattle, she decides to leave behind the only home she’s ever known. Nothing could have prepared Starbird for the World Outside, or for what it would teach her about the Family—and herself.
“The language manages to be simultaneously quiet and passionate, and the numerous characters all shine through with full backstories, creating a unique and fully immersive reading experience.” –Booklist, starred review
“Starbird Murphy is a story about waking up to the fact that the people around you have their own agendas and deciding how much of yourself you’re willing to share with the world. It’s not a story about the decimation of faith—instead, it’s about the deepening of faith, as told by a brave girl who learns how to interact with the world in a more mature, more nuanced way. In other words, it’s about growing up gracefully.”- Paul Constant, The Stranger
“With a lesser author at the helm, this story would be marred by stereotypes. In the hands of poet Finneyfrock, Starbird gradually and realistically finds her inner voice emerging from a controlled mind.” —Kirkus
A “page-turner, coming-of-age mystery…the story’s entertainment and discussion potential make it a great acquisition.” –VOYA
“…will prompt lively discussion about independence and belief.” –BCCB
“While Starbird’s experiences are unique, her authentic voice and search for truth will appeal to teen readers.” –The Seattle Times
“The story’s author, Karen Finneyfrock, has a background in poetry, so “beautiful” and “lyrical” don’t begin to describe the way she constructs the world through Starbird’s eyes. Finneyfrock perfectly captures the doubts and questions we all have as we begin to separate from our families and come into our own. If you’ve ever felt alone or different (and who hasn’t?), this book will help you see the strength and power that can come from that.” -Rookie