New city. New school. Same old problems.

There’s no escaping the facts. Kit’s father is a drunk, and her mother won’t stand up for herself.

Kit’s old life was bad enough but now it’s almost intolerable. It’s only when she meets Elliot that she starts to see beyond her own misery.

(Orca Book Publishers 2013)

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  • 2015 OLA White Pine Award Honour Book

When we got home Dad said we should celebrate. But we all knew what that meant. So we sat around and discussed the other speeches just long enough for Dad to have one drink. Then we all went our separate ways and left Dad alone in his chair to gnaw on the bone I had thrown him, savoring every last morsel, until nothing was left but tiny sharp fragments.


Quill & Quire [Starred review]

“Refreshingly, Smith chooses not to cast Phonse as an abusive alcoholic, but accurately portrays the mood swings, unpredictability, and misunderstandings of the disease…Kit is a likable, sympathetic heroine who is often funny in a goofy, endearing way…With sprightly dialogue, relatable characters, and a story that delves into serious subject matter without becoming morose, Baygirl is a balanced, well-written debut.”
- November 1, 2013

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“An accurate story of life in St. John’s in 1992 … Smith has given a different perspective on the Cod Moratorium and how it impacted the lives of fishing families who had to rebuild and retrain at an unexpected time in their life.”
- October 1, 2013

School Library Journal

"Teen Kit Ryan learns about love and loss in this luminous young adult novel set in 1990s Newfoundland...Teens will connect with Smith's well-crafted characters, including the fully-formed protagonist. The tragic ending will resonate with readers, and they will root for Kit as she emerges from the other side."
- February 1, 2014

Waterloo Region Record

"A sensitive and well-crafted story, rich with humour and pathos...The author, a St. John's native, is sympathetic to Kit and her father, neither treading into maudlin territory nor making this an 'issue of the week' type of book."
- February 15, 2014

CM Magazine

“Sitting at the juncture between historical and contemporary realism, Baygirl is, very much, a bildungsroman, a coming-of-age story that will captivate the attention of today’s young adults…This well-crafted novel deals with the maturation and growing awareness of self and others…Part of the charm and allure of this novel is its skilful depiction and stitching together of social and personal challenges in believable ways. And this makes it ideal for book clubs and literature discussion groups inside and outside of schools…A remarkable first novel that I vigorously recommend for students in Grade nine and up.”
- November 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews

“This first-person tale gently illustrates change,
both good and bad.”
- August 15, 2013

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