Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Anybody Shining” as Want to Read:
Anybody Shining
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Anybody Shining

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  241 ratings  ·  65 reviews
Can one mistake destroy the chance of a lifetime? A girl discovers there are many ways of being true in this magnificent ode to handwritten letters and the shining power of friendship from the author of Dovey Coe, set in the Appalachian mountains of 1920s North Carolina.

One true friend. Someone shining. That’s all twelve-year-old Arie Mae wants. But shining true fr
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 7th 2014 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published August 26th 2014)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  241 ratings  ·  65 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Anybody Shining
Valerie Cotnoir
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sweet, sweet book with endearing characters. ❤
Oct 19, 2017 added it
Recommends it for: Delilah
This book "Anybody Shining", is about a girl named Arie Mae who lives out in the country in the mountains. Arie Mae wants more than anything to make her mother happy , and she knows that the only way to do so is to make friends. In her town a lot of families come in from Baltimore to help add in a new school where the "mountain children" can learn. In this book people bully these country folks saying that they are "filthy animals that are highly unsanitary and whom should not be trusted" this is ...more
Suzanne Maley
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had forgotten that I had read this before. Listening to read in a Southern accent made the story even more delightful. I always enjoy Frances O’Roark Dowell’s books.
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly Appalachian

Such a beautiful, true, honest voice in Arie Mae. I felt like I was reading about my own grandmother's history.
Ms. Yingling
Jun 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Arie Mae lives in the mountains and finds the children in her area lacking. She desperately wants a friend, and when her mother mentions that she has a wealthy cousin in Raleigh, Arie starts writing to her, hoping that she will write back. When the local "songcatcher ladies" have a group of Baltimore children visiting the settlement school, Arie is enthralled by their speech and how clean they are. She makes friends with Tom, who is lame because of a fall from a horse, and his sister Ruth, who i ...more
Trying to be Fair and Tender Ladies for middle graders, I guess. Just comes off like "Sure is nice up here in the mountains, with all the songcatchers and dried apples and whatnot". I'm too hard-hearted against non-mountain people writing mountain books to go for this one.

Also, the text is printed in two colors of sepia-tone. In case you didn't get that this is OLD TIMEY.
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: from-work
I want to get my complaint out of the way first, especially because it has nothing to do with the actual content of the story: My biggest complaint was with the text - why oh why do publishers insist on printing in anything other than black!? The red text was hard enough to read, but the faded red on the letters was extremely difficult and I know a number of people who would not be able to read this book simply because of the text color.

Now to reviewing the actual story:
This wa
Ari Mae Sparks is a "mountain girl" through and through. She loves her community. She loves the music and the stories and the people. Why should she be ashamed of where she lives. Sure, sometimes outsiders don't understand their ways ... but that doesn't mean their ways our wrong.

Her mother has given Ari Mae a special task. She is to write to her cousin Caroline. See, Ari Mae's mother hasn't seen her sister since she left the mountains and became a doctor's wife. It's like she wants
Sonia Garrett
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This story unfolds through a series of beautifully written letters. We learn about mountain life in North Carolina as seen through the eyes of Arie Mae, a lonely child in search of one true friend. When she meets Tom, a city boy, she sees an opportunity and will do anything to secure that friendship. It's a summer of discovery; finding joy and belonging in the traditions and tales of home.
Felicity Williams
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
A lovely story and you are invested in Arie May from the start. The dialect brings the story to life.
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
So enjoyable- It made me want to sit down and write a letter.
Chloe Cotnoir
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book! It was amazing and so full of life and fun. The writing and the characters were just perfect. Highly recommend.
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a great one for my granddaughters.
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Youth book that held my interest. Set in the mountains of NC, it reminded me of the beauty and mystery the the Appalachians. I miss being in a green place.
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another fun summer read. Would be great for elementary school kids.
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful story. Very sweet and thoughtful.
Black Bones
Nov 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Very nice story.
To me, it seemed like a mixture of "Polly Anna" by Eleanor H. Porter with "Treasures of the Snow" by Patricia St. John.
There's only one thing that I don't quite agree here with author that is persistence is the key (sending like 16 letters), sometimes you gotta know when to give up and let go. A relative (or anyone) whom you have to beg to create a bond with you is not worth it.
Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
12-year-old Arie Mae loves living in the Appalachian Mountains. She is so proud of her mother, who sings the old songs like an angel and her father who loves modern and traditional music. All that is missing in her life is a best friend. Arie Mae starts writing letters to her cousin who lives far away in Baltimore and whose mother had grown up in the mountains. After sending letter after letter, Arie Mae gets no response, but continues writing anyway, sharing the details of her life and adventur ...more
Gabs {My Full Bookshelf Reviews}
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reading this book took me back to when I was a little girl reading all the classics that I could get my hands on. There is something about Arie Mae that reminded me of the heroines in those stories--in fact, the whole book felt a bit like that.

Arie Mae is a protagonist you can't help but like. She's quite loveable, adventurous, and somewhat headstrong. I loved reading her letters to Caroline. There were pa
Jul 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Twelve-year-old Arie Mae longs to have a true friend, but her imagination and energy distance her from the few girls her age in their rural North Carolina community. She decides to start writing letters to Cousin Caroline, whom she has never met, and hopes Caroline will write back. After all, their mothers are sisters (albeit estranged) and the two girls are the same age. In letter after unanswered letter, she pours out her yearning for a friend who “shines” and many details of life in her mount ...more
Zach Koenig
Aug 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Often times while reading a book that is categorized as YA, the reader (if an adult) gets the distinct feeling that they are reading a YA book. I have typically found that the best literature, however, contains themes that can appeal to all readers, not just a segmented few. In the case of “Anybody Shining”, that is very much the case.

For a basic plot summary, this book is set in the Appalachian mountains of 1920s North Carolina (making it very much historical fiction). It focuses on
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Told in true southern lingo I absolutely loved the story & the dialogue; it was so much fun to read and is definitely a feel good story.

About the book:

The story is based on the main character Arie Mae who wants nothing more in life than to have a good friend. Where she lives in North Carolina there are many kids around except Arie feels none of them are worth “her 2 cents”. Arie’s mom tells her about a cousin, Caroline, she has and suggests they become friends (Her si
Stacy Sabala
Aug 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
Book Review- Anybody Shining by Frances O’Roark Dowell

Twelve year old Arie Mae Sparks doesn’t have a best friend and she is very unsettled about it. She decides to write to her cousin Caroline whom she has never met to see if they can be friends. Arie Mae lives in Stone Gap, North Carolina in the mountains and Caroline is from the big city of Raleigh. Arie Mae continually writes letters telling Caroline what is happening to her on the mountain. She tells stories, explains tradi
A poignant story of trying to fulfill the deep ache for friendship in an isolated setting. Arie Mae is unable to find a true best friend within her small NC mountain community, so she decides to begin a correspondence with the cousin in Raleigh that she's never met. Despite receiving no response, she continues to write. Each letter is a new chapter that details her everyday life along with the effects of the arrival of a small band of children from Baltimore who come with their families to estab ...more
Nov 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Arie Mae (the main character) is full of personality and she has all the scary stories and spunk to back it up. She's extremely likeable, but because she lives in the thick mountains of NC, friends are hard to come by. This summer, as songcatchers open a school for the mountain children, and children visit from far away places, we find Arie Mae sharing her experiences by letter with a cousin she's never met. Her cousin Caroline doesn't respond and Arie Mae worries that it's because her mother ma ...more
Annarose Brantley
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved it she always finds the best way to fix things and she has a wild imagination I like how hard she tried to get a holed of her cousin and she always has fun in her nabor hood!
Sacramento Public Library
I consider O'Dowell to be one of the most underrated authors out there - realistic tween fiction doesn't get much better than her trilogy that starts with "The Secret Language of Girls" and follows two former best friends through the ups and downs of middle school. While this title is historical fiction, Dowell's accessible, fluid writing and nuanced understanding of childhood dynamics are on full display. While the plot is perhaps unremarkable, and certainly nothing particularly earth-shatterin ...more
Karen Arendt
One part ghost story, two parts friendship. Arie Mae lives in the Appalachian Mountains in the 1920s. She wants more than anything to have a friend. She starts writing to her cousin, Caroline, in Raleigh, NC. While Caroline doesn't answer her letters, she friends Tom, a summer visitor from Baltimore with a crippled leg and weak heart. He is looking for adventure and Arie Mae knows plenty of fun places to hike and climb. Tom doesn't notice that Arie Mae wears the same dress often and that her man ...more
Chelsea Couillard-Smith
I consider O'Dowell to be one of the most underrated authors out there - realistic tween fiction doesn't get much better than her trilogy that starts with "The Secret Language of Girls" and follows two former best friends through the ups and downs of middle school. While this title is historical fiction, Dowell's accessible, fluid writing and nuanced understanding of childhood dynamics are on full display. While the plot is perhaps unremarkable, and certainly nothing particularly earth-shatterin ...more
In a series of letters written to her cousin Caroline, who lives in Raleigh, Arie Mae recounts the events that go on in her small Appalachian town. "Songcatchers," or cultural preservationists, have come to town and built a school that teach the traditional arts, but even in 1926 many of these are outdated. The idea that Arie Mae and her family still weave their own fabric when they have a dry goods store and cane their own chairs when the Sears Roebuck catalog is available is ludicrous. What Ar ...more
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Lost in the Sun
  • Full of Beans
  • World of Howl Collection (Howl's Moving Castle, #1-3)
  • Ruby Lee and Me
  • Nathan Coulter
  • The Ransom of Mercy Carter
  • GodPretty in the Tobacco Field
  • Liar's Bench
  • And Both Were Young
  • Louisiana's Way Home
  • Brian's Winter (Brian's Saga, #3)
  • Brian's Return (Brian's Saga, #4)
  • The Boy Who Dared
  • Memories of Glass
  • Sing Down the Moon
  • Zane and the Hurricane: A Story of Katrina
  • The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie
  • Zia (Island of the Blue Dolphins, #2)
See similar books…
While Frances O'Roark Dowell (Dovey Coe, The Secret Language of Girls, Trouble the Water) is best known for her award-winning novels, she also hosts the popular "Off-Kilter Quilt" podcast, where she talks about her latest quilt projects with friends and fellow quilters around the globe. Her own little corner of the globe is Durham, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, two sons, and a ...more