I'm using Darcy Pattison's Random Acts of Publicity Week to catch up on my blog book reviewing. One suggestion is to publicize a friend's book, and I'll do that later in the week. But Darcy also suggests we use our Acts on books we love. I love this book.
Patricia Reilly Giff is no stranger to book love, let me just say. And she doesn't really need my random act, I'm sure. But last night I picked up this book (sent from Random House) thinking I'd skim a bit. I couldn't put it down.
Oh, you might say, do we need another book set during the Depression?
(For the record, I also loved Turtle in Paradise, for the same middle-grade audience.)
Yes, we do. If it's R My Name is Rachel.
This new novel of Giff's is a love story, a survival story, a family story. The writing is exquisite. Like this, from Rachel, digging the garden:
Overhead, the sun is strong. It's much too hot for the hat. I toss it over my shoulder and hack some more. And then I start to get into the rhythm of it. Dig, dig deeper, turn the weeds up, the soil up.
And after a while, I throw myself on the warm earth. I grab a long brown weed and yank it. And then another.
A lot of things happen in this story. Bad things you'd expect from a family struggling during a time that sounds sadly like today in many ways.
And talk about flawed characters- Rachel and her sister are not exactly shining examples of sisterly love.
I love to see intriguing, amazing facts tucked into novels-- things kids take away from a book quite innocently. Edible ferns. Goats who digest curtains. Snow so high it plugs up the chinks in a house.
It's also quite short. Very easy to read. A page turner. And includes a big shout-out for kids who love to read, as Rachel does in the story.
If you want to join the fun and publicize a friend's book or a book you love, you can check out that link up there to Darcy's FAQs on the topic. Or you can just head to your Facebook account, your Amazon reviews, Goodreads or wherever you like to share book thoughts and give them a holler!