Sunday, September 25, 2011

the summer of hammers and angels by Shannon Wiersbitzky

"'...My heavens, such a fuss over a broken leg. If you ask me, everyone's making a mountain out of a molehill. When I was a girl, every kid in school had a cast on an arm or aleg at some point. Tommy will be home soon. Your mama too. The world will right itself in no time.'

'How do you know?' I asked, my voice sharp. 'How do you know everything will work out right?'

Miss Martha looked directly into my eyes. 'I don't.'

'What?' My heart skipped a beat.

'I don't know for sure,' said Miss Martha. 'But I believe it will.'

'How long do you need to believe?'

Miss Martha stared out the window over the sink. 'As long as it takes.'"

I loved Wiersbitzky's first novel. There is a gentle pace to the text that kept me tethered to her words, to her storyline, and to the characters. Especially Delia, the main character, who has some life cards stacked against her from the start. But like most hard things in life, softening helps. When being forced to figure out what to do with an almost condemned house while her mom is in the hospital in a coma from being struck by lightning, Delia finds her way to asking for help, starting with trusted friends and growing to a much larger group by the end of the book. The way she asks is unique and gentle, and as I read, I could imagine a young teen doing just what she did.

There is something I always appreciate about middle-level novels: the books hold real-life tensions but the storyline usually ends hopefully. I also love how the tensions have to be simple to connect with, and this one certainly was for me. Finally I love the phrases. Authors who write for the young adult and juvenile groups know they have to catch their audience in the first paragraph of the book and hold them, and this book does just that.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds wonderful for middle school readers! I also love the idea that there is that ending hopefulness.