Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

This is another former Printz book. I'm slowly working my way through them and it's making me super excited. So far this year I have been pretty good at sticking to my goals.

Mattie has big dreams. She wants to go to college and become a writer, but when her mother was dying she made a promise to stay and raise her sisters. Mattie lives a hard life as the daughter of a farmer, and her relationship with her father has become more and more strained. She takes a job at the Glenmore Hotel to help earn money, and a guest Grace Brown dies. Grace gave Mattie her letters to burn and now Mattie again finds herself caught between a promise and what she thinks she should do.

This novel was amazing. It was heartbreaking and moving and lovely. Mattie's voice is very true and I really felt tangled up in her emotions. You can really feel how torn she is between staying and taking care of her family and leaving to go to school. I also thought her infatuation with Royal Loomis was pretty accurate for how teens can get sometimes. It's the kind of relationship you see from the sidelines and in your head your going "noooooo, not him, he's a jerk." He isn't really awful I suppose, more like a product of his circumstance and times but you just know he isn't going to let her be herself.

The details in this book are phenomenal. Everything feels historically accurate and the nothing here is hidden or cleaned up. The horrors of child birth, starvation, people's cruelty and hatred are all shown in minute detail. There is an honesty to the writing that I think everyone should appreciate.

The characters in this book were just phenomenal. I loved Ms. Wilcox, Weaver, and I really liked learning about her father and how his relationship with her mother and his brother were formed. Honestly there is almost too much to talk about with this book. I could really go on and on about all the thinks I liked, but really you should just go read it.

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