A Northern Light

I wanted to read a few books over Christmas break. There are so many library books that I haven’t read. Unfortunately I only managed to read one book. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly is one of our newer additions to the Junior High Fiction section of the library. I am always drawn to historical fiction and this one looked especially promising because the fictional characters are intertwined with a real life turn of the century mystery.

Mattie Gokey is 16 when her mother dies and leaves her with the heavy burden of caring for her younger brothers and sisters and a father who perhaps relies on her a little too much. She struggles between embracing her dreams and putting them aside out of obligation to her family. Secretly she applies to Barnhard College and is accepted. At the same time she accepts the proposal of her handsome neighbor Royal Loomis even though it doesn’t seem as if he truly loves her. While working at a hotel during the summer Mattie comes in contact with Grace Brown and her mysterious letters. The summer changes Mattie as she comes to realize she cannot live for others but must live for herself.

This is a great read for grades 7th and 8th. It is historical but the events  and growth Maddie experiences ring true for today’s audience.

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