This book tells the story behind the man who would become Captain Hook, the villain in the "Peter Pan" stories by J. M. Barrie. It is hard to think of...moreThis book tells the story behind the man who would become Captain Hook, the villain in the "Peter Pan" stories by J. M. Barrie. It is hard to think of him as a man, but we are allowed to glimpse Hook as a young man in Restoration-era England as he goes from an educated trader’s son to that of a rakish young man hell-bent on revenge because of all the misfortunes that have befallen him. He forsakes the love of two women, one of which ultimately spells out his punishment in the dream world of Neverland. Hook and his original crew drift to Neverland in a fog (literally and figuratively) and are doomed to fought and be killed over and over again by Pan and his boys. Only Hook doesn’t actually die, but is constantly being reborn to fight Pan another day. It’s not until he has been there a few centuries that he meets an Englishwoman named Stella Parrish that will forever change his life. Just who is this woman and is she the key to Hook finally getting out of Neverland? To find out read this fascinating take on the Peter Pan myth. 4 stars.
This book originally drew me in with its comparisons to works by Gregory Maguire, who I have enjoyed in the past. The story does stall a bit in the middle, as Hook is trying to figure out more about himself and Stella’s new role in his life. I liked that the author made the story into an action adventure fantasy romance, but also with a healthy dose of reality as well. Let me explain. We are given a bird’s eye view of James Hookbridge’s development from a young man fascinated in carpentry, though this is looked down upon by his middle-class father, to his role as the leader of a gang of young rich men who gallivant around London’s pleasure houses, which is of course again looked down upon by his father. He then goes off to prove himself, only to be taken advantage of by a man who thought was his friend, who took all that James owned or was given. I honestly would never have thought of Captain Hook as a man with a past, but the author really makes him human and 3-D, not only as the man destined to be Peter Pan’s mortal enemy. The revelation about the men who become his crew members was particularly fascinating, and totally made sense. I also found it intriguing that they made Pan into the whiny vicious child, always getting his own way, instead of the hero of the tale as he is usually portrayed. It was almost like a total role reversal for Pan and Hook.
Disclaimer: I received this advanced reader’s copy book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. (less)
This book is the story of the four Latimer sisters, two sets of twins, named Edda, Grace, Tufts and Kitty. They live with their father, a Church of En...moreThis book is the story of the four Latimer sisters, two sets of twins, named Edda, Grace, Tufts and Kitty. They live with their father, a Church of England rector, and their stepmother in 1920’s Australia. The girls are going to be the first formerly trained nurses in Corunda, a prosperous town outside of Sydney. There is a lot of resistance to them to be thus trained not only by the un-trained female nursing staff already in the hospital as well people who don’t think the girls should be able to live on their own as unmarried women. The book chronicles not only the girls settling into their jobs as new trained nurses (which made me think of the Call the Midwife book and TV series, though it was set about 30 years later in England), but also how they each matured on their own in their personal and emotional lives. The story chronicles not only the sisters but also the lives of common Australian folk during the Depression of the 1930s, a story not usually told outside of the US. 3-1/2 stars.
Ok, I will admit that I originally picked up this novel because I had read "The Thornbirds" by the same author after watching the 1980s miniseries, and really enjoyed them. This one sounded just as interesting, so I decided to give it a try as well. Overall, I really enjoyed the story, even though it seemed to have suddenly ended just as it was getting interesting. I really think the author should’ve divided this story into two books or possibly one book per sister as that would make a better “romantic saga” as the publishers are terming the book. One of the things I did really like about the book is that the author had excellent vocabulary. The complex nature of the words used impressed me, and I found myself looking a lot up, which doesn’t bother me. I like books that educate me. I also liked learning about the Australian Depression, which I did not previously know that much about. I knew a little bit it as my paternal grandmother had grown up around Sydney during this time period, and she had told me some things.
Edda was probably my favorite sister, or the one I could most identify with as she was not afraid to speak her mind and was the most independent and knew exactly what she wanted out of life. Grace and Kitty started out weak, but eventually became much more complex characters as the story progressed. I also really liked Tufts as she ended up being the more research-minded sister, content to be a teacher though she does end up with a much more public job by the end of the book. I thought Jack’s character was a little weak, but I’m glad he was able to find happiness in someone. Charles Burdum was an interesting character, as I have definitely met men like him before. I would’ve liked to hear more about Dorcas as she was only included in the last part of the book.
Disclaimer: I received this advanced reader’s copy book via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review. (less)
o Dr. James Murray has come to the University of Turin in 1867, to become the assistant of Professor Cesare Lombroso, who is teaching the newly-establ...moreo Dr. James Murray has come to the University of Turin in 1867, to become the assistant of Professor Cesare Lombroso, who is teaching the newly-established field of criminal anthropology. This was the era that science first started to be used in criminal investigations, and James assisted with that in Edinburgh before coming to Italy. His father was involved in the study of the criminal brain, so this field is natural to him. James left behind a sister with a religious aunt as since his parents died, he has been the breadwinner and needs a proper job to do that. Right in the middle of his interview for the assistant position, the carbinieri (police) come in and inform Professor Lombroso of a gruesome murder they would like his assistance with, as his name has been mentioned in a note left by the killer.
Sofia, one of Lombroso’s servants intrigues James with the way she has no problem looking right at him, far different from the reserved manner of Scottish women. Lombroso is having a symposium at the university and has invited scholars from all over Europe to assist him. James is excited to be invited to go because he will finally get to meet all the people whose work he has read about. As the symposium continues, more and more people are being killed as a “Tribute to Lombroso”. Will they ever be able to figure out who the killer is and why he or she is doing this? To find out read this fascinating book. 4 stars.
I had never heard of Cesare Lombroso, although I had heard of Dr. Bell. Forensic and criminal anthropology have been fascinating to me for awhile, as is true crime, so I was interested, after reading the book, to read the author’s note at the end which described the field and its champion. My biggest gripe with the book was the middle part, which really dragged, and nearly made me lose interest. Another thing to mention about the book is that the killings were pretty horrific, and definitely not for the faint of heart.
Disclaimer: I received this advanced reader’s copy book via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review. (less)
"I, Juan de Pareja" is about a black slave boy born in Seville, Spain in 1607, who belongs to a wealthy older woman. His mother, also owned by the wom...more"I, Juan de Pareja" is about a black slave boy born in Seville, Spain in 1607, who belongs to a wealthy older woman. His mother, also owned by the woman, died when he was a boy. His mistress treats him well and teaches him the alphabet and how to write letters. Sadly she and the rest of the household die from the plague. Juan is sent to live with the woman’s nephew, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (known predominantly as Velazquez in the book), a painter in Madrid. Juan longs to paint, but is unable to because of a law forbidding slaves to learn the arts. So he helps his master in any way he can, by prepping the master’s canvasses, paint, and arranging props. Eventually Velazquez becomes the court painter to the Spanish King Phillip IV, and his studio is moved into the palace. He meets the famous painter Peter Paul Rubens, and on Ruben’s recommendation travels to Italy with Juan, to copy and buy Italian works for the king. While there, Juan secretly teaches himself to draw and paint.
After much practice, he is able to paint a Virgin Mary, though his secret shames him so much that he finally tells an apprentice of his master Bartolomeo Esteban Murillo (great name, right?) the truth. Thankfully Murillo is kind to him, and praises his skill, but tells him to hold off telling Velazquez until later. Juan goes with his master to Italy a second time, and Velazquez ends up getting a commission to paint Pope Innocent X’s portrait, along with many Roman nobles and their families. Disaster almost strikes Juan’s master before they get to Rome when his painting hand becomes infected, but Juan’s prayers to the Virgin Mary are heard and his master is healed. Of course, Juan had promised the Virgin that he would tell his master his secret if he became well. They come back to Spain and paint for several more years before Juan finally admits, before the King, that he has been painting secretly and begs forgiveness. He is forgiven and freed by his master Velazquez, who then hires him as an assistant. He soon after marries his former mistress’s slave and they live with the Velazquez family until they die. Recommended for ages 9-12, 5 stars.
I picked this up after a quick browse of the children’s audiobook section. It looked interesting as I saw it was about painters, specifically Velasquez, whom I did not know much about. I had no idea until after I finished the book that it had won the 1966 Newbery Medal, and rightly so. The visual description and rich language of the story is what makes it so well-done, as it really draws you in from the beginning. The reader can really imagine what life was like in 17th Century Spain and Italy. I thought maybe the narrator had a speech problem as she read the text, but according to my mother (who has lived in Spain), the lisping is an affectation, particularly for Castilian Spanish people. Learn something new every day. The only slight downside to this book is that it is a bid dated in the “modern” terminology at the end of the book. In the afterword by the author, she notes that major points of the story is true, although not much is known about Velazquez himself or Juan de Pareja. Juan was owned by the master, who did later free him and add him on as an assistant. The King Phillip IV did have a good solid relationship with his court painter and did posthumously bestow upon him the Knighthood of the Order of Santiago (St. James), the highest honor in Spain. See here for more information: http://www.galicianflag.com/saint_jam.... (less)
I’ll admit, I was hesitant to read another depressing book about World War II, even one that was a 1990 Newbery winner. Lois Lowry really surprised me...moreI’ll admit, I was hesitant to read another depressing book about World War II, even one that was a 1990 Newbery winner. Lois Lowry really surprised me with this book. It was a very grown-up and hopeful book, despite being about a ten year old girl and how she deals with the Nazis. I liked that children can learn about the true meaning of “pride” and “bravery” through the story. I also thought the author’s note at the end was particularly fascinating, especially the part about the boat captain’s handkerchiefs.
Ten-year-old Annemarie lives with her younger sister Kirstie, her parents in Denmark in 1943 during the German-occupation of her country. Her best friend is a young Jewish girl named Ellen Rosen, who lives right next door to Annemarie, with her family. One day the Germans start re-locating the Jewish people of Copenhagen and her family decide immediately that they will help the Rosens. The Johannesen’s split up the Rosens so they will be easier to transport, taking Ellen with them as their daughter. They go out to the country where Uncle Heinrich lives as a fisherman in the family home. Will the Rosens be able to escape to safety or will they be found out by the Germans? Will Annemarie be able to face her fears to save her friend? To find out, read this fantastic book. Recommended for ages 8-12, 4 stars. (less)
Sixteen year old Lucia is betrothed to Vitulus, a significantly-older wealthy man, and is not pleased with the arrangement. Her father runs a gladiato...moreSixteen year old Lucia is betrothed to Vitulus, a significantly-older wealthy man, and is not pleased with the arrangement. Her father runs a gladiator school in Pompeii and is hoping Lucia’s future husband will allow him to break into gladiator fighting in Rome. Tag is a medical slave in the gladiator school like his father before him. Tag and Lucia played together as children, but he was sent to Rome for a few years as punishment and has only recently come back to Pompeii. They start to have feelings for each other, but both know it is impossible given their difference in social status.
A pretentious young rich man named Quintus comes to stay at Lucia’s villa, and train in the gladiator school. After Tag helps Quintus out of a jam in gladiator school, he manages to get Lucia’s father to agree to train Tag as long as Tag trains with him. Tag had trained as a gladiator previously in Rome, and saw it as a way to achieve his freedom. He reluctantly agrees to train with Quintus. Meanwhile, Lucia has been noticing all the strange natural phenomena around Pompeii and knows something is wrong, but can’t quite figure out what. Will Lucia and Tag be able to move forward with their lives and love? Recommended for ages 12+, 3 1/2 stars.
I really liked this book. The way the author seamlessly blended in Latin names with English ones, making it so even those who didn’t study Latin in high school or college understand almost everything. She had very vivid descriptions of everything, so you can, for example, totally picture yourself walking with a Roman girl and her maid through the market in Pompeii on a beautiful summer day and seeing all the sights, sounds and smells around you. This goes double for the scenes of the actual eruption of Vesuvius. I can’t even imagine how that must’ve felt, even the descriptions were horrifying. I also liked that the author used the newly updated dates for the destruction of Pompeii and the surrounding cities, which she explains in the author’s note at the end of the book.
While I enjoy reading historically accurate fiction, I am very glad not to have been a woman during that time period. A daughter, like Lucia, no matter how intelligent and articulate could be treated as cattle and sold off to the highest bidder. The abandonment of female babies part of the story, as a mother, really bothered me. I know it was done in Greek and Roman times, but I find it selfish to get rid of a child simply because you don’t like the sex. I liked the romance between Lucia and Tag, especially the kisses. Although Cassandra Clare will probably always be my favorite writer for kisses, Ms Shechter comes in a close second. I also liked that Tag’s family came from Etruscan nobility, and that despite his slave status, he carries himself well.
I do have one comment about the countdown to the eruption. It took me forever to figure out that the time listed under the start of each chapter was the countdown to the eruption of Mt Vesuvius and not a time period at an earlier date. Not sure how to make it more obvious, but it was really confusing for awhile. I was also rather frustrated with the ending, as it seemed like they overcame such insane obstacles to escape only to be thwarted by fate in the end.
Disclaimer: I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. (less)
The book is based off real events from author Edgar Allan Poe’s life, as well as characters and story elements from the poem “Annabel Lee”, his short...moreThe book is based off real events from author Edgar Allan Poe’s life, as well as characters and story elements from the poem “Annabel Lee”, his short story “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Raven”, as well as Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous novella “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” Although I overall enjoyed the book, I felt like she was trying so hard to pay homage to these great writers that Annabel’s story gets a little lost in the process, making her seem a little one-dimensional. That was sad because she had so many interesting things going for her and plus so many things to learn and adjust to in a completely different society. I kept waiting for it to be spine-tingling and creepy like “gothic horror story” title makes you think it will be, but it wasn’t.
The year is 1826. Annabel Lee has had no contact with her father since her birth, but suddenly she is sent two tickets by him to move from Siam (Thailand) to Philadelphia. Her mother was supposed to go with her, but she died shortly before Annabel received the tickets. She is excited to come to America as she helped her mother as a healer in Siam, and she had planned on studying medicine and becoming a doctor. When she arrives in Philadelphia, her father is rather shocked to see her and is cold and rude towards her. He is totally immersed in his work as a doctor, which makes getting to know him impossible. He is also totally against female doctors because he thinks they would be too week and emotional. But her father is far from blemish-free, as she soon discovers the truth about him from his assistants Allan and Edgar. Shortly after arriving in Philadelphia, there is a series of gruesome unsolved murders that she learns may have been committed by someone in her household. Will the murderer be brought to justice? Recommended for ages 15+, 3 stars.
Disclaimer: I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.(less)
This volume starts with the twin girls Laila and Leily from Volume 4 getting married. So much preparation was needed to decorate, make sure the brides...moreThis volume starts with the twin girls Laila and Leily from Volume 4 getting married. So much preparation was needed to decorate, make sure the brides were properly decked out, that enough food was prepared not just for each of the families involved but their neighbors and even strangers. The wedding preparation and ceremony reminded me of a Pakistani wedding I’ve gone to, at least in the length and the rituals involved. The twins cracked me up because they got so bored they made their husbands-to-be sneak them food and help them escape as they had been sitting under heavy veils for hours. The twins cry when they finally realize they are no longer part of their father’s house. Mr. Smith and Ali sneak away in the middle of the celebrations and head towards Ankara. Amir and Karluk and his family come back into the story in the second half of the volume. Yay! It also seems that they are to be the subject of the future books. My favorite story was the “Queen of the Mountain” where Karluk’s grandmother uses a goat to climb the side of a mountain to save a stranded child. Amir is further settling into her duties as wife. There was also the cool story at the end of the book where Amir is out hunting with her bow and kills a large goat to bring back home. While she is out there, she discovers a wounded hawk and takes it back home. Since the men in her family take care of the hunting hawks, she’s not exactly sure how to proceed, but starts spending a lot of time with the injured hawk. This makes Karluk jealous for the first time in his life and Amir must attend to him. In the end, the hawk has to be put down, but Amir and Karluk grow closer because of it. Recommended for ages 13+, 4 stars. (less)
After devouring the first three volumes in the series, I was anxious to get my hands on the fourth volume. This story was a little bit different from...moreAfter devouring the first three volumes in the series, I was anxious to get my hands on the fourth volume. This story was a little bit different from the rest, mostly because there weren’t as many things going on. It starts out with Mr. Smith heading with Ali to Ankara (sp?) but they get sidetracked after he falls off his camel into the Aral Sea and is rescued by twins Laila and Leily. When they realize he is a doctor, they immediately take him to their grandfather, who has a dislocated shoulder. He quickly fixes that problem and soon everyone in the village is waiting for him to help them. Laila and Leily are trying to catch rich handsome husbands, but not having much luck in their small fishing village. Eventually, their father and his friend decide that they will be just fine for their father’s friends’ sons, Sarm and Sami. They’ve all grown up together but never really thought much of each other until they are forced into the situation. The twins decide that these boys aren’t so bad after all, and pick which one best suits them. They are preparing for the wedding at the end of the book.
My favorite part has to be a tie between the twins’ grandmother hoodwinking them into working hard, pretending she is giving them a “charm” for future suitors, and when their mother gives them a crash course in being wives. These girls look so young to me, way too young to get married or even thinking about it (though I know the average age was probably 12-14 years old). Recommended for ages 14+, 3 stars. (less)
I quickly devoured the first book The Dark Unwinding, so I was excited to learn that she came out with a second book for the series. I will admit that...moreI quickly devoured the first book The Dark Unwinding, so I was excited to learn that she came out with a second book for the series. I will admit that despite not finishing books I started earlier, I was totally engulfed in finishing this one instead. This one, like the other, is a little slow in the beginning, but suddenly all these mysteries are revealed and it really keeps you riveted. This one had even more surprises than last time, and I hope that the author decides to continue the series as I know I would love another book.
Katherine has now been at Strathwyne for two years now, after she miraculously received her inheritance from her father and grandmother. Things are just starting to return to some normalcy after the events of the previous book, when suddenly she is awakened in the middle of the night by masked men trying to break into her bedroom. The situation is quickly neutralized with her maid Mary’s help, but they’ve got bigger problems now. The government of Great Britain wants to take Katherine and her Uncle to London to help them build weapons against the French, but Katherine knows that is not possible, given her uncle’s unusual behavior and manners. So she plots with her solicitor Mr. Babcock to take Uncle Tully, Mary and herself to Paris, to her grandmother’s estate, away from the government’s control. She is also trying to find Lane, who disappeared over a year ago and whom the British government has reported as dead.
The biggest problem she faces, aside from not speaking the language, is that her reputation has proceeded her. Her aunt has been spreading around gossip about her in London and it has made its way across the pond to Paris, where the upper classes escaping London have retreated. One of her aunt’s friends is living right next door to Katherine. Will her uncle be discovered? And if so, by the French or the English? Just what exactly happened to Lane? To find out this and more, check out this awesome second book to “The Dark Unwinding” series. Recommended for ages 13+, 4 stars. (less)
I was a little sad to say goodbye to Amir in the last volume, as I really enjoyed getting to know her character, but thankfully she made an appearance...moreI was a little sad to say goodbye to Amir in the last volume, as I really enjoyed getting to know her character, but thankfully she made an appearance in this one as well. Mr. Smith, who has taken a very backseat role in the first two volumes, is front and center for the next few books. I’m hoping they’ll give more back story on him to fill in a lot of the gaps. As in the other books, the artwork is stunning even in black and white, and full of so much detail.
At the end of the last volume, Mr. Smith had left Karluk’s family and was headed to a nearby city to meet up with his guide. When he gets there, he and a young woman both get their horses stolen. They are returned by the local magistrate and the woman named Tala invites Mr. Smith back to her and her mother-in-law’s yurt as a guest. The young woman has had a very unfortunate history, which her mother-in-law (who she simply calls mother) relates to him. The mother had five sons and Tala was married to her oldest son. He died of an illness after a year, and they had no children, so she married the next oldest. In time, all five of them had died and the mother’s husband was so heart-broken, he died soon afterwards. This left Tala and her mother-in-law to take care of their sheep and themselves. While Mr. Smith is there, he gets to know Tala and enjoys her company. One day, an uncle of the young woman comes in demanding her hand for as his son’s second wife. The mother refuses because she knows the girl will basically be a slave in the household and have no rights, and tells the uncle that Mr. Smith has asked for Tala’s hand in marriage. Of course, then Mr. Smith walks in and is rather surprised by it all. He decides that the best thing to do would be to leave.
So he goes back to the city and immediately gets arrested after the uncle, unhappy with the answer from the mother, got Mr. Smith put in jail on trumped-up charges (they think he is a Russian spy). After spending a period of time in jail, his guide, Karluk and Amir finally come to the rescue. Tala follows shortly afterwards. They try to make Mr. Smith look less foreign, so he won’t get into trouble in the future. Tala finds him again, worried after she learned that he had spent the time apart from her in jail. Mr. Smith has developed feelings for her during his long time to think in prison and ends up promising to come back and find her, leaving her with his gold pocket watch. As he escorts Tala back to her yurt, they find out that her mother has married the uncle to appease him and he is now considered the young woman’s father. He obviously dislikes Mr. Smith and refuses to let them see each other, and her mother-in-law tells him to forget Tala. He is heartbroken but leaves with the guide, and Amir and Karluk go back to their home after eating an enormous meal together. It turns out Mr. Smith was originally destined to go to India, where he has a small house, but got sidetracked in Turkmenistan. He heads there now with his guide Ali, though it will be a very long trip. Recommended for ages 14+, 4 stars. (less)
Another well-researched and fascinating glimpse into the lives of young brides in Turkmenistan. This volume is a continuation of the story from the fi...moreAnother well-researched and fascinating glimpse into the lives of young brides in Turkmenistan. This volume is a continuation of the story from the first volume, featuring the same bride, Amir. She meets a new friend Pariya, a younger girl whose parents are having trouble marrying her off because she is very vocal about who she is and what she wants, at the communal ovens. She can’t embroider, but makes amazingly detailed breads. Amir takes her under her wing and tries to teach her how to use the bow and arrow. On one of their outings with Amir’s husband Karluk and the English observer, Mr. Smith, they come across a sort-of shrine thought to bless women who want to have children. On the way out, they run into a riding party made up of Amir’s family, who have decided to come en masse and force her to marry a wealthier man. Mr. Smith comes up with an ingenious way to separate Amir and Karluk from Amir’s family, and temporarily saves them. They rush back to the village, and tell Amir’s father and grandfather the news. All of the villagers decide to take arms against the intruders. Even young Karluk helps to defend his wife. They are successful and the family is driven off again.
Mr. Smith asks about the cloth preparation, a term used by Amir’s family. It means that girls at a young age gather cloth, needles and thread to start creating the sheets, clothes and other embroidered material that will become part of their dowry when they marry. Karluk’s niece is of age to start this, so her parents start gathering the material. He follows the women in the family as they go to their storeroom to show the girl the patterns used by the family, and she finally finds one she likes. Letters from back home and a messenger soon arrive for Mr. Smith, who reluctantly leaves to go to his original intended destination. Recommended for ages 14+, 4 stars.
I loved Mori’s manga series Emma, so I decided to give this one a try as I am on a bit of a book lull at the moment. This was a nice quick read, as mo...moreI loved Mori’s manga series Emma, so I decided to give this one a try as I am on a bit of a book lull at the moment. This was a nice quick read, as most of the illustrations had very little words. It tells the story of a family in Turkmenistan in Central Asia, whose youngest son Karluk at age twelve marries a girl of twenty named Amir from a neighboring village. The girl is quite different from the boy who is shy and keeps to himself and his family, while Amir is outgoing, vivacious and a great bow-hunter. They are slowly getting to know each other, and you can tell they care about each others with the little gestures that they do. For example, she kills some rabbits for them to eat and then uses the fabric given to her by her in-laws to make him a rabbit fur-lined tunic, and he goes to search for her after he learns there may be wolves where she’s decided to hunt. His family is just starting to like her when her eldest brother stops by with some cousins and demands that her in-laws return Amir to them. They refuse and the grandmother, who originally came from their family, stops Amir’s family with an arrow. My favorite scene in the book was when they were on their way to Karluk’s uncles’s family, and they found pomegranates along the way and she was so excited. And the whole scene where they were going to sleep in the yurt (a movable house tent) was priceless. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series! Recommended for ages 14+, 4 stars.(less)
I would probably have not picked this book up on my own, mostly because I hadn’t heard of it, but the book had won the 2005 Newbery Award so I decided...moreI would probably have not picked this book up on my own, mostly because I hadn’t heard of it, but the book had won the 2005 Newbery Award so I decided to give it a try. The book is interesting because it is told after the events of the book by the main character, looking back on her childhood and life with her sister. The narrator was really good at switching between her normal accent, a Japanese accent, and one from the Deep South.
Katie is a five year old Japanese-American girl in the mid-1950s who lives with her older sister Lynn and her parents in Iowa. They run a Japanese market in the town, but it closed down, and her parents decide to move to Southern Georgia. Her uncle lives there with his family and works in a chicken hatchery separating the males from the egg-producing females. This is where Katie’s father will work too. Her mother will work in a chicken processing plant. Lynn and Katie grow up in Georgia, are very close to each other. Her mother later has a son named Sammy, who completes their family. The whole family has to deal with racism while living in Southern Georgia, as they are subtly ignored by the white population there. When Lynn is sixteen years old, she starts to get ill and has to go to the hospital a lot. Lynn later dies and Katie, now eleven (check age) years old and her family must come to grips with Lynn’s death. The title comes from the Japanese and it means sparkling or glittering. I think it refers to Lynn and how she was viewed by her family and in turn, how they looked at the world, especially Katie. Recommended for ages 9-13, 3 stars. (less)