Rave Reviews Log: Realistic Fiction

June 28, 2007


By Karon Luddy
Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

Set in 1969, 8th grader Karlene Bridges lives in a small town in South Carolina. Despite her mother having only a 9th grade education and a father who is an alcoholic, Karlene has big time dreams of winning the National Spelling Bee. As she journeys down the path to the spelling championship, Karlene is almost overwhelmed by her family's problems. But with the support of the new Latin teacher, Mrs. Harrison, Karlene manages to just keep her head above water. This is an engaging story about a girl with dreams bigger than her town, and the frustrations and joys that typically accompany a 13 year old whose world is opening up.

June 04, 2007

In Search of Mockingbird

By Loretta Ellsworth
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

Erin loves 2 things: writing, and reading Harper Lee's classic, To Kill a Mockingbird. But on the eve of her 16th birthday, her dad drops a couple of bombshells. First, he announces he is going to marry his longtime girlfriend, Susan, then he hands Erin a diary that her mother wrote. Since her mother died when Erin was an infant, Erin has always wanted to know more about her, but her dad remained closelipped when it came to talking about his wife. As Erin pores over the journal, she learns that her mom also wished to be a writer, and even wrote to Harper Lee. Erin is filled with rebellious inspiration--she will travel to Harper Lee's home in Monroeville, Alabama and talk to her about writing. She takes all the money her grandmother gave her for her birthday and buys a one-way ticket on a Greyhound to Monroeville. On her 1100 mile journey, Erin meets some odd characters who befriend her, like Sedushia and Epp. Erin is able to draw lessons and wisdom from To Kill a Mockingbird as she finds that she can inspire others as much as they can inspire her. Will a runaway make it to find her hero before the police catch up to her? Will Harper Lee give her that connection to her mother she's always wanted? This is a heartfelt story of soul-searching and finding, and discovering friends and inspiration in the oddest places. A likeable tale, especially for anyone who is a fan of To Kill a Mockingbird.