Jolie's Reviews > A Northern Light

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
1157979
's review
Oct 19, 09

bookshelves: young-adult, historical-fiction

I'm a real sucker for this kind of book. One-room schoolhouse, small-town families caught in a time of change, young girl in love with books and words, and lovely, atmospheric writing. A Northern Light is set in the Adirondack Mountains (since I'm not a native of the North Woods, I don't feel pretentious calling them that) in 1906. Mattie Gokey is our word-obsessed heroine, trying desperately to care for her younger siblings since the death of her mother while still studying to pass her Regents exams (which, in a side-note, I remember taking as a student in New York State. I had no idea they'd been around so long!) and figure out a way to attend Barnard College.

The story moves forward while alternating between Mattie's present--working at the Glenmore camp where real-life tragic figure Grace Brown has just been pulled from the lake--and her recent past--highlighting the events leading to her summer job, and delving into the characters and their relationships that will inform the current events.

I truly enjoyed my time reading this book, perfectly willing to overlook any tendency toward preachiness. And, since several of my reviews lately have been for books appropriate for middle-grade readers, let me say that I would give this one to a more mature reader--one that is ready to read about childbirth, periods, courtship, dirty old men, and (indirectly) murder. Nothing is terribly graphic, but it is certainly part of the story.
likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read A Northern Light.
sign in »

No comments have been added yet.