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2021 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (4)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut (1)
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia
- Hawaii (1)
- Idaho
- Illinois (4)
- Indiana
- Iowa
- Kansas
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine
- Maryland (1)
- Massachusetts (1)
- Michigan (1)
- Minnesota (1)
- Mississippi
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada (1)
- New Hampshire (1)
- New Jersey (1)
- New Mexico
- New York (4)
- North Carolina (1)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (6)
- Oklahoma
- Oregon
- Pennsylvania (1)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina (1)
- South Dakota
- Tennessee
- Texas (1)
- Utah (1)
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (3)
- Washington (3)
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin
- Wyoming (1)
- *Washington, D.C.

International:
Australia (2)
Canada (3)
England (6)
France (1)
Ireland (1)
Switzerland (1)
The Philippines (1)
Wales (1)

My Progress:


28 / 51 states. 55% done!

2021 Fall Into Reading Challenge

My Progress:


0 / 24 books. 0% done!

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
(Hosted by Yours Truly!)

My Progress:


6 / 25 books. 24% done!

2021 Popsugar Reading Challenge

My Progress:


33 / 50 books. 66% done!

Booklist Queen's 2021 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


35 / 52 books. 67% done!

2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

The 52 Club's 2021 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


39 / 52 books. 75% done!
Friday, January 10, 2014

Warm, Engaging Don't Let Me Go Gives Me All the Feels

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Billy Shine hasn't left his apartment in 12 years.  Everything the 37-year-old agoraphobic needs to survive can be delivered to his door and retrieved after the hallway empties out.  He sees no reason to interact with another human being.  Ever.  Billy would be happy to leave it that way for the rest of his life, too.  But then Grace comes along.  And changes everything.

From behind the curtain veiling his sliding-glass door, Billy spies the little girl sitting outside, alone.  Again.  It's almost dark in their not-so-great L.A. neighborhood and he's worried.  With her tangled hair and the forlorn expression she always wears, it's clear the child's not being looked after properly.  No that it's any of Billy's business, of course.  Still, he's concerned.  So much so that he edges out onto his balcony—outside!—to talk to her.  Grace Ferguson, as he learns, is a 9-year-old who lives in the building with her mother, a drug addict and alcoholic.  From eavesdropping on other neighbors' conversations, he knows the situation has caught the attention of CPS.  None of Grace's neighbors want the girl to be put into foster care, but what can they do?  The others have busy lives, no money, and little patience for Grace's mom, who cares more about drugs than her own daughter.

Billy doesn't want to get caught in the unfolding drama, but he can't help himself.  And, suddenly, the man who has hidden in his home for over a decade, is part of a care system intent on sheltering a troubled child.  He's interacting, not just with Grace, but also with neighbors he's never actually met before.  The unusual situation terrifies him and yet, it may just be healing him as well.  While the neighbors' desperate ploy to shield Grace from the perils of foster care is helping Billy, will it be enough to save Grace?  Especially when Eileen Ferguson demands that her nosy neighbors stop "stealing" her daughter?  What if leaving her mom and neighbors really is the best thing for Grace?  How would Billy survive the loss of the only good thing in his life?

I happened on Don't Let Me Go by Catherine Ryan Hyde almost by accident and wow, I'm so glad I did!  It's a heart-felt novel that's warm, engaging and sweet without being overly sentimental.  The characters feel real, the conflict authentic—so much so that the reader can't help being invested in the outcome of the story.  Don't Let Me Go is a touching tale that teaches the importance of reaching out, letting people in, and using selfless love to lift and protect those who need it most.  If you can't tell, this novel just gave me all the feels.  I loved it.   

(Readalikes:  Reminded me of Counting by 7's by Holly Goldberg Sloan)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (no F-bombs) and mature subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Don't Let Me Go from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.  

Another Satisfying Installment in an Always Enjoyable Series

(Image from Amazon)

There's nothing Patsy Davis, a preteen slave girl, wants more than to go to school.  She longs to study with a real teacher, to get an education as rounded as those the master's children take for granted.  Most of all, she wishes she could stop hiding her ability to read and write.  If anyone on the plantation knew she'd been taught these illegal skills, it would mean severe punishment.  It's a risk she simply can't afford to take.  So, she pours all her yearnings into the diary one of her charges gave her as a joke—it's the only way she can keep her heart from bursting with all the hopes and desires she keeps hidden inside of it.

When the Civil War ends, granting slaves the right to schooling, Patsy can hardly contain her excitement.  But, as the months pass, it becomes obvious that the master has no intention of fulfilling his promise to bring a teacher to his South Carolina plantation.  Disappointed and angry, Patsy can think of only one viable solution.  It's a crazy idea, but maybe, just maybe, she can start a school all on her own.  Does she have the courage to defy her master?  Is she even capable of being a real teacher, with her shyness and stuttering?  And what will happen when everyone knows about her secret reading and writing?  Is she brave enough to face the consequences, whatever they may be?

Originally published in 1997, I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl by Joyce Hansen, was recently re-issued along with other books in the popular Dear America series.  These historical novels feature stories about young girls living in the U.S. during periods of great change.  Since they are all told through diary entries, the novels offer a reading experience that is both intimate and exciting.  All the heroines in the series are strong, courageous young women who must face trying circumstances.  As they strive to solve their problems, they discover they're tougher and more powerful than they ever believed.  Patsy is no exception.  Her story offers a unique glimpse into the post-Civil War experience of freed slaves and teaches an important lesson about not just recognizing your strengths, but also using them to help others.  It's another satisfying installment in an always enjoyable series.

(Readalikes:  Other books in the Dear America series; the historical American Girl novels are also similar)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated: 


 for some intense situations
   
To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl from the generous folks at Scholastic.  Thank you!
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The Gold in These Hills by Joanne Bischof

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Glass Houses by Louise Penny



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