Author: Maureen Johnson
Publication Date: 2004
About the Book:
The funny thing about stop sings is that they're also start signs.
Mayzie is the middle sister, sent to private school because of her brains. Brooks, the oldest, is a beautiful athlete who's conflicted about her two loves: Softball and Dave. Palmer is the youngest, tentative in all but her blistering pitches as the only freshman on varsity softball. Though very different, the Golds are sisters through and through.
When the unthinkable happens -- the death of their father -- a year passes in shattered silence. Brooks begins drinking, Palm withdraws, and May is left to fend for herself. She gets a job at a coffee spot, and hits the books. But the one thing she can't do alone is learn to drive. That's when Peter, her life-long nemesis and all around thorn-in-side, assumes a surprising new role in May's life: he teaches her to drive, and the connection between them changes from childhood animosity to one that May can't understand, or doesn't yet want.
As May slowly starts to pick up the pieces of her life, her sisters struggle with their own demons. The Gold sisters have been changed irrevocably, and they are all but lost to one another, until the key is found. The key to their father's Pontiac Firebird.
This is Maureen Johnson's first book and perhaps my favorite of hers. That's saying a lot because I really loved 13 Little Blue Envelopes and the Scarlett books!
The book starts out with a brief "before" but the bulk is "'after"... after May's dad dies, after everything shatters. The "after" is divided up by the three months it covers. There are also a few fabulous definitions/stories to introduce each month. They are typical of the @maureenjohnson that we know and love!
I like that this book alternates viewpoints between the three Gold sisters. They are all dealing with the loss of their father differently and it's interesting to see the different perspectives. It also allows us to get to know the sisters and their relationships with one another better.
Of course we get a dose of the humor and quirkiness that Maureen Johnson is so known for. She manages to take a story that has the potential to be depressing and trite and make it hilarious and hopeful. The characters aren't perfect but they're perfect for this book. I LOVED Peter. He's definitely crush worthy :)
In summary, The Key to the Golden Firebird is a humorous and touching read that will engage you right up to the last page.