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Chicken Girl: 06/11/19
Two years ago we nearly moved to Kitchener / Waterloo. Although the job transfer fell through, I still have nostalgic feelings for our almost new home. I bring this up because Chicken Girl by Heather Smith, while not explicitly named, is set in an urban Canadian area that shares landmarks with these two cities.
Poppy aka Pops works for a chicken restaurant as their advertising mascot. She dresses up in a chicken suit for work every day. Her twin brother Cameron, aka Cam, has started work at a hair salon. She is struggling with self esteem after a photo of herself dressed as Rosie the Riveter was edited to include a hamburger and uploaded to a site that ridicules fat people. Cam, has recently come out as gay and is trying to find a balance between things he likes to do and things he's now expected to like.
Mostly, though, the novel is about Poppy's time off which she spends under a bridge at a homeless encampment. She befriends the people who live there full time and the others who hang out there when they have no where else to go.
For instance, there's a young girl named Miracle, whose mother is a sex worker. Though she is young she is remarkably street smart, but all the adults in her life do their best to keep her out of trouble. While something bad happening to Miracle is a constant thread of worry among the other characters, she makes it the end of the novel unscathed, though not adventure-free.
All in all Chicken Girl reminded me of a Canadian Arakawa Under the Bridge.