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Young Adult Fiction Sexual Abuse)

Watching Jimmy

by (author) Nancy Hartry

Initial publish date
Apr 2009
Sexual Abuse), Emotions & Feelings, General (see also headings under Social Themes)
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2009
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2012
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7


A novel of danger, warmth, and dark humor — about a brain-damaged young boy and the friend who knows a terrible secret.

Watching Jimmy is an impossible-to-put-down novel full of danger, warmth, and dark humor. With shocking candor, young Carolyn relates the truth about what really happened to her best friend, Jimmy, when his Uncle Ted chose the perfect time to teach him a lesson he'd never forget. The truth is, Jimmy didn't fall from a swing like Uncle Ted claims — Carolyn knows, because she saw everything. According to her, "Uncle Ted just didn't count on me, Carolyn, [being] perched in a tree where the park and the parking lot meet."

With the dreadful secret locked away, Carolyn walks an emotional tightrope. No matter what else is happening in this post-war era, she must keep an eye on poor, brain-damaged Jimmy: making sure he behaves, keeping him clean, and keeping him safe — especially from Uncle Ted. But when Uncle Ted threatens his beleaguered family with even more abuse and the loss of their home, Carolyn must find the courage to match wits with him and to speak out, using the truth as her only weapon. But perhaps her biggest challenge will lie in finding a way to get Jimmy the expensive operation he needs to relieve the pressure on his brain, because:

"As I told you, our Jimmy is not a mental defective like people say. Our Jimmy is in there. He's in there. This I know." Set in 1958, Watching Jimmy is a brilliant portrait of a time past, a family of strong women, and a resourceful young girl who exudes character, resilience, and, most of all, love.

About the author


NANCY HARTRY est l’auteure des albums jeunesse Hold On, McGinty! et Jocelyn and the Ballerina. Elle a également écrit le roman à succès Watching Jimmy, qui a gagné la récompense du livre de l’année de l’Association canadienne des bibliothèques en 2010. Lorsqu’elle n’est pas en train d’écrire des histoires, Nancy travaille en tant qu’avocate. Elle vit à Toronto, en Ontario.


NANCY HARTRY is the author of two picture books, Hold On, McGinty! and Jocelyn and the Ballerina. Nancy finds inspiration for her stories in the antics of her children and her larger family, as well as strangers who have no idea that their quirks and foibles will find their way into books. When Nancy is not writing stories, she works as a lawyer. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.


Nancy Hartry's profile page


  • Short-listed, Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People
  • Winner, Canadian Library Association - Book of the Year for Children
  • Short-listed, Golden Oak Award
  • Short-listed, Golden Oak Award

Editorial Reviews

"A compelling and satisfying novel..."
-School Library Journal

Librarian Reviews

Watching Jimmy

Carolyn shares the truth about what really happened to her best friend, Jimmy, when his Uncle Ted chose the perfect time to teach Jimmy a lesson he’d never forget. The truth is Jimmy didn’t fall from a swing like his Uncle Ted says. Carolyn knows — she saw it all. With the terrible secret within her grasp, she is on an emotional roller coaster.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2010.

Other titles by Nancy Hartry

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