THE GIRL WHO FELL FROM THE SKY by Heidi W. Durrow: A Review

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This 2010 publication won the Bellwether Prize for fiction (an award featuring social justice) that year. It could be categorized as a YA novel, but it had great appeal to me as an adult reader. The heroine, Rachel, whose unusual blue eyes are often mentioned, is the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I.

After the family tragedy that happened in Chicago, which defines the rest of her life, she goes to live with her grandmother (on her father’s side) in Portland. The novel deals with the issue of whether Rachel is “black” or “white”–she doesn’t fit in with either. A parallel story finds Jamie, later known as “Bricks,” who lived in the apartment projects where Rachel’s family “ended,” leaving her the only survivor. Jamie is a witness to the tragic event.

The story unfolds, layer by layer, with anecdotes about each of the main characters alternately, until…

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FIRST LINE FRIDAYS

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Hoarding Books hosts a meme where bloggers/readers copy the first line of a book they are reading to give a “feel” for what the book is about. Can one decide from the first line whether she/he wants to read the book? Read my Friday Firstliner from Kate DiCamillo’s Beverly, Right Here:

“Buddy died, and Beverly buried him, and then she set off toward Lake Clara.  She went the back way, through the orange groves…she saw her cousin Joe Travis…[who was] nineteen years old. He had red hair and a tiny little red beard and a red Camaro…Beverly didn’t like him all that much.”

This is not just the story of a runaway. It is an excellent character study set in a complex plot with poignant relationships at stake. YA author DiCamillo is well known by readers everywhere in grades 5- high school, and doesn’t disappoint in this excellent tale.

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TUESDAY TEASER

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The idea of the Tuesday Teaser is to tease another reader into looking into your current read as a possibility for their TBR list. Mine today is from Jennifer A. Nielsen’s Words on Fire, categorized as a Middle-Grades Read.

“My name is Audra. In my language, Lithuanian, it means storm. But my language had become illegal. If the soldiers we passed on the road heard us speaking it, we could be whipped on the spot and arrested. Or in some cases, we might disappear. That happened sometimes.”

And so we enter the world of Russian Cossacks, underground book smugglers, and rigorous political control as we enter this outstanding YA historical novel. It promises to be an exciting, emotional read.

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