Posted on April 19, 2008 by Lisa @ Eva Perry Regional Library
Summary: In 1943, eleven-year-old Ellie is her brother Jimmy’s “best girl,” and when he leaves Pittsburgh just before Thanksgiving to fight in World War II, he promises he will return, asks her to leave the Christmas tree up until he does, and reminds her to “let the joy out.” 272 p., Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.
The historical details in this book made it seem very real. Even though I sort of knew what might happen, it still made me cry! There was a great cast of well-developed characters, and also some deeper themes to think about. The bittersweet ending seemed just right. I think this book has Newbery potential!
This book is in my top three. I loved the characters, and how they reacted to the events around them. This book approaches the World War II theme so that it is not just about the war and how it changed things, but how the people reacted and how they tried to live normal lives during these hardships. The writing style really lets you know the characters in the book and their feelings, and your are able to easily connect with them. The ending was perfect. I think this has a good chance of getting a Newbery award.
I have to disagree, I did not enjoy this book. I also felt that it was not distinguished at all. I may be biased because I have read at least two other books this year about girls whose male friends or relatives go away to war and something bad happens to them. I was also annoyed by the writing style, and I didn’t like the characters very much either. I’m sure many people will disagree me but, I really didn’t like this book. It wasn’t horrible or anything but it just didn’t stand out and shout “Newbery” at me.
During our First Top 3 Vote this year, the following comments were made about this book:
“I could relate to the characters. I could feel what they felt…”
“The time period was described very well through the music, slang, games, events, etc., there was a whole cast of well developed characters, and the book had a very satisfying resolution for one of this type.”
Hello, Wake County and all you terrific readers! I cant tell you how much your comments mean to me. One, because it means somebody else has met Ellie, Jimmy and Victoria, and Two, because your readers are so thorough and thoughtful (including the one who DIDN’T like the book…he read it, thought it through, and came to a conclusion that he could defend. Good for him!)
I am so honored to be on this third list with so many wonderful books. I feel like I’ve hit the lottery just being on this list. Thank you!