Publication Date: August 23, 2016
Open Road Media
eBook & Paperback; 178 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Young Adult
It’s 1949 in Tennessee Smoky Mountain country, and everything in pre-teen Salina’s life seems suddenly different. Her sister is engaged, her brother is absorbed in caring for his sickly foal, and salina feels she has nothing in common anymore with her best friend. This novel for young people captures the insular spirit of the mountain people, the breathtaking country itself, and a girl’s struggle to accept the inevitability of change.
“An evocative first novel….the message is rounded out with lively characters, period details, and the sustained use of Salina’s childlike point of view.” – Kirkus
“. . . .A story as intricately patterned and multicolored as a practical, quilted coat—one that will warm readers, too.” -ALA Booklist Starred Review
“This finely crafted first novel engagingly depicts early adolescent feelings. All the events in the story occur between the first day of school and Christmas, in a year when Salina Harris moves beyond her concerns for popularity to an unfolding friendship with Scooter Russell, an unwelcome new-comer. . . .It is well paced, building to a dramatic climax; it creates a strong sense of time and place; and the novel includes a likable cast of characters and even a romance.” -Horn Book Magazine
“Salina is a wonderfully drawn character (who), with the help of loving parents and a teacher who challenges her to see a larger picture, realizes that change is inevitable, and that she will be able to accept it.” -School Library Journal
This is a relatively short read, but it’s worth your time, I promise! Salina is a 12 year old girl and the world around her is changing. As with any 12 year old, change isn’t always good. It’s confusing and seems devastating (although we learn with age, it really isn’t). There’s a rumour circling about that there is going to be a road cutting through her family’s farmland. Her closest friends are from different stations in life and it leaves her feeling torn…and of course, she’s anxiously awaiting a letter back from author, Margaret Mitchell, about if Rhett ever came back to Scarlett. She’s also enduring her quirky new school friend’s thoughts that no, Rhett Butler did NOT come back to her. I admit I saw a bit of myself in Salina in the way that she defended the novel and was certain that Rhett came back.
(I would like to think that he did but accept that he didn’t.)
This was a sweet read, one that made you feel included in the story. The characters were well written and engaging. It’s not hard to think that you know these people or that you can imagine knowing. It certainly brought me back to when I was 12 and so confused about life. It’s an unpleasant feeling at the time but I look back at it with a chuckle now. I enjoyed getting to know each member of the family and the evolution of the town into a modern one. I admit, I’d love a sequel! Whilst some parts are a bit dialogue heavy, I’m certain that you’ll enjoy the story.
(It’s also worth mentioning that on August 16, 1949, Margaret Mitchell passed away five days after she was struck by a drunk driver on Peachtree Street in Atlanta.)
Alana White is the author of fiction and nonfiction for adults and young readers. Her most recent publications are the adult historical mystery novel, The Sign of the Weeping Virgin, set at the height of the Italian Renaissance in Florence, Italy, and Come Next Spring, a coming of age novel set in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee in the 1940s. She is also the author of a biography of Sacagawea, Sacagawea: Westward With Lewis and Clark. She is a longtime member of the Historical Novel Society and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in Nashville, TN.
Alana welcomes readers and is always available for reader group chats. Please visit her at http://www.AlanaWhite.com for more information. As well as HNS and SCBWI, she is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, the Author’s Guild, and the Women’s National Book Association.
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