Sixteen-year-old Dylan has never met her father. She knows that her parents were just teenagers themselves when she was born, but her mother doesn’t like to talk about the past, and her father, Mark, has never responded to Dylan’s attempts to contact him. As far as Dylan is concerned, her family is made up of her mother, Amanda; her recently adopted younger sister, Karma; and maybe even her best friend, Toni.
And then, out of the blue, a phone call: Mark will be in town for a few days and he wants to meet her. Amanda is clearly upset, but Dylan can’t help being excited at the possibility of finally getting to know her father. But when she finds out why he has come—and what he wants from her—the answers fill her with still more questions. What makes someone family? And why has her mother been lying to her all these years?
“The tension this creates between Dylan and her mother is brutal and realistic. Like many teens, Dylan has found emotional safety in keeping distant from others, judging before she can be judged. As Dylan comes out of her shell, she realizes her own power and responsibility in setting the terms of her relationships…Teens who were intrigued with the family drama in Sara Zarr’s How to Save a Life (2011) or Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper(2004) will find similarly thought-provoking issues here.” (Booklist, May 15, 2012)
“Vividly descriptive language enriches the story…[and] a raw and honest tone runs through the novel…Teens will relate to the themes of family, love, trust, and moral obligation. Discussion of abortion, sex, teen pregnancy, alcoholism, underage drinking, and smoking marijuana are included, and under the surface this page-turner invites readers to reflect on decision-making and appreciate the fact that actions have deep consequences.” (School Library Journal, May 2012)
“Hummingbird Heart is a well-written exploration of complex family relationships… will appeal to teenagers who like realistic drama. Recommended.” (Canadian Materials, March 2012)
“This is a well-written story about a teenager being forced to confront questions about her past, her family, her relationships and her very identity. Dylan is a well-developed, realistic character and teens will be able to relate to her dilemma. Highly recommended.” (geminisgems.blogspot.com, March 2012)
“Stevenson takes a story full of complex relationships and difficult events and creates a readable, dramatic tale full of likeable characters… A beautifully told story… Recommended for anyone who likes a good dramatic coming of age story.” (Resource Links)
“Stevenson captures the true spirit of Dylan’s anger toward both her mother and her father, and the situation in which both parents have placed her…While the issues breeched in this novel are complex and deep,Hummingbird Heart remains an enjoyable read.” (Southwest Ohio and Neighboring Libraries (SWON) – July 3, 2012)
“Stevenson takes Hummingbird Heart from just a mirror of a young girl’s attempt to understand others as well as herself to a piece of artwork, extensive and colourful, deep and enduring, of choices, wonderful or humiliating, like a tattoo, hummingbird or otherwise.” (CanLit for Little Canadians blog – July 25, 2012)
“A well-written story about a teenager being forced to confront questions about her past, her family, her relationships and her very identity. Dylan is a well-developed, realistic character and teens will be able to relate to her dilemma. Highly recommended.” (Gemini’s Gems blog – February 29, 2012)
“A very valuable book because of the author’s honesty in portraying the teen dynamics with friends and families…Highly recommended for inclusion in any high school or public library collection.” (Tri State YA Book Review Committee – September 1, 2012)
- Junior Library Guild Selection 2012
- Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year 2013