Thursday, January 08, 2009
Jennifer Erin Valent's Fireflies in December ~ Reviewed
Fireflies in December
By Jennifer Erin Valent Published by Tyndale
ISBN# 978-1-4143-2432-6 277
Pages Back Cover:
"The summer I turned 13, I thought I killed a man." So begins the story of Jessilyn Lasiter, a young girl who never knew that hatred could lurk in the human heart until she turned thirteen in the summer of 1932.
When her best friend Gemma, loses her parents in a tragic fire, Jessilyn's father vows to care for her as one of his own, despite the fact that Gemma is black and prejudice is prevalent in their southern Virginia town.
Violence springs up as a ragtag band of Klu Klux Klan members unite and decide to take matters into their own hands. As tensions mount in the small community, loyalties are tested and Jessilyn is forced to say goodbye to the carefree days of her youth.
REVIEW: I love the fresh voice of this powerful book. Author Jennifer Erin Valent takes you right into the world of Jessilyn from the very first sentence. Here it is, "The summer I turned 13, I thought I killed a man." That did it!! I was hooked and could not put this book down.
The story is told through the eyes of 13 year old Jessilyn, who is one curious, spunky girl. She reminds me of Curious George and how he got into so much trouble because he was just plain curious. Jessilyn made me nervous as she would get herself into so many things, just by being so curious. I loved how she talked things over with her best friend Gemma. Those two would go round and round. It usually made me laugh at their perspective on life!
I want to give you a little glimpse into Jessilyn's voice and her outlook on how things are. "If there was anything I know about the South, it was that everything in the South was slow. People ate slow, talked slow and walked slow. Heck, they even thought slow." Jessilyn just cracks me up with the innocence of the way she thinks. I just grew to love Jessily and her friend Gemma in this book.
This story shows you a slice of life in the summer of 1932, when segregation was enforced and the Klu Klux Klan was raging. It was a real eye-opener. I wasn't raised like this, so I can't imagine living this way every day. Jessilyn grows up really quick this summer when she realizes for the first time the battles that are raging around her. Although this is Jennifer's first book, you don't want to miss the chance to read it! Wow! I can't wait to read what she writes next.
Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent - Book Club Servant Leader