by Julia Watts
Abandoned by her mother and raised by her loving but religiously zealous grandmother, 16-year-old Heavenly Faith Simms (H.F. for short) has never felt like she belonged anywhere.
When she finds her mother’s address in a drawer, she and her best friend, Bo, an emotionally repressed gay boy, hit the road in Bo’s scrap heap of a car and head south.
Their journey through the heart of the American South awakens both teens to the realization that there is a life waiting for them that is very different from what they have known and that the concept of family is more far-reaching than they had ever imagined.
Finding H.F. is the winner of the 2001 Lambda Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction.
First Published by Alyson Books 2001
Lambda Literary Foundation
Finding H.F.: Winner, Best Young Adult Fiction.
Community Counseling Services
Toby Emert, Ph.D., May, 2004: Watts' H.F. is a delightful character: wise, but wide-eyed; open to the world, though easily stung; loyal in her friendships, but unafraid to speak her mind. Her Southern-ness--both her dialect and her thinking--is more than a little appealing. As readers, we understand Watt's witty teenaged heroine. We want H.F. to find what she's looking for--her place in a confusing world. We're rooting for her to do just that as she begins to accept truths about herself and as she works out her own brand of spiritual faith and her own definition of a loving family.
Finding H.F. is also an update on the Judy Blume voyages of discovery many readers will be familiar with from their teenage years. It's a novel that seems far more aware of social realities, and as such offers a text that neither talks down to nor preaches to the reader. Accordingly it can be read by teenagers and adults alike, with the central and surrounding characters developed in enough detail and conviction to offer a rewarding journey.