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Since 1990, The Word On The Street has presented thousands of Canadian authors for readers of all ages and literary appetites. This year's schedule includes over 200 presenters on 14 stages.
Young characters struggling with their own sense of identity while managing the identities of those around them. Experiences of betrayal, gender identity, and caring for parents as children inform Brian Francis and Heather Smith’s characters.
After Toby’s mother dies by suicide, Toby becomes convinced that she is destined to follow in her path. While hatching a plan to escape her pain, her long-estranged father announces he’d like to meet her. She soon learns that not only is he gay, he’s also a world-famous female impersonator and a temperamental man-child ill-prepared to be a real parent. As Toby is forced to rebuild the life she thought she knew, it is only through the support of a quirky circle of friends and family that she can finally put together the many different pieces that make up her past, present, and future. (HarperCollins)
Brian Francis is the author of two previous novels. His most recent, Natural Order, was selected by the Toronto Star, Kobo, and Georgia Straight as a Best Book of the Year. His first novel, Fruit, was a Canada Reads finalist and was selected as a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers title. He lives in Toronto.
Poppy used to be an optimist until a photo of her is mocked online. Disillusioned, Poppy trades her beloved vintage clothes for a feathered chicken costume and a job as an anonymous sign waver outside a restaurant. There, Poppy meets six-year-old Miracle, who helps Poppy see beyond her own pain and opens her eyes to the people around her. As the summer unfolds, Poppy stops glorifying the past and starts focusing on the present. But just as she comes to terms with the fact that there is good and bad in everyone, she is tested by a deep betrayal. (Penguin Teen)
Heather Smith is originally from Newfoundland, and now lives in Waterloo, Ontario, with her husband and three children. Her east coast roots inspire much of her writing. Her previous novel, The Agony of Bun O’Keefe, received a starred review from Kirkus and Quill & Quire.