Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Northern Light

Book:  A Northern Light
Author:  Jennifer Donnelly
Like/Don't Like:  Yeah, it was pretty good

I wish I didn't have such a pet peeve for stories that go back and forth between past and present.  I find that unless it's done exceptionally well it disrupts the flow for me.  But I know that that is just me.  So I'm giving this a good recommendation because it really was well written.  I just have issues.

Mattie is a 16 year old girl living in upstate New York in the early 1900s.  Her mother has just died and she is left to deal with all that entails:  a grieving father, 3 younger sisters to care for and a farm and household to run, all while trying to decide between her dream of being taken care of and having stability and her dream of going off to school.  Plus, she has the added misfortune of being involved in the mysterious death of a guest of the hotel she is working for.  The story goes back and forth between the night the day the guest died and the months leading up to it.  I had a hard time seeing the connection between the girl who died and Mattie other than they were both poor and young.  I mean, I got it, I just thought it was a little bit of a stretch.

But all of that can be overlooked because the voice was so strong.  You believe Mattie completely.  She is a great heroine.  Strong but flawed.  Compassionate but capable of a little selfishness.  A teenage girl all the way.  It was easy to follow along with her and it left me wanting to know more about her life at the end.

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