Posted in 2014-2015 Club, Not Mock Newbery

Found Things, by Marilyn Hilton

Summary:  Eleven-year-old River Rose, bullied at school and missing her older brother, Theron, makes friends with a strange new classmate, Meadow Lark, and the two search for a miracle by floating wishes down the river.

Atheneum

Find it at WCPL

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2 thoughts on “Found Things, by Marilyn Hilton

  1. Found Things was another simple, yet beautiful book about loss, family, and friends. This seems to be a popular theme and style in books this year, with Nightingale’s Nest, The Secret Hum of the Daisy, Bird, and Nest all so similar to each other as well as to this book. Because of this kind of book being popular this year, for a book like this to stay on our Newbery list, it must be better than a majority of the others and when I started Found Things, I really didn’t expect to like it as much as I did Bird and Nest. The beginning was mediocre and I instantly doubted it would measure up with my favorites, but by the time I got a few chapters into it I could no longer dislike it. The plot, as I mentioned above, is about a girl, River, missing her older brother who was kicked out of the house. The theme was amazingly interwoven with the plot making them each stronger. Like the title suggests, I found the theme to be finding things, specifically hope. At first, River doesn’t really know what she is looking for, but she spends considerable time collecting things washed up by the nearby river. In dream like instances, she also looks for something inside a mysterious house. Of course, the entire time she is wishing she could find Theron, her brother. Her mother too searches for something: angels. So how do all these fit together? What all the characters are really looking to find is hope, and through things like her mysterious friend Meadow Lark (who is hinted at being an angel), the river, and a wounded bird of course, River learns how to find and see hope. Everything is so tightly woven in this book and so full of plot twists, that it is difficult to explain, and it is hard to believe that all this depth could be inserted into a book with so few pages for a younger audience, but the author is able to do it in a clear and memorable way. There are two small issues I had with the book, but I do not think that either of them detract too much from the distinguished criteria of this book. One was River’s newly acquired accent, which bothered me since the first sentence. It felt too forced and distracted me from the writing. I wasn’t sure it was necessary. The author put an amazing sense of mystery into the story with her simple and appropriately un-descriptive writing style allowing the reader’s imagination to take them to many different solutions to River’s problems, making the story all the more attention-grabbing. However I wonder if the author took the mystery too far with never resolving Meadow Lark’s story. Like I said, it is hinted that Meadow Lark is some sort of angel, or hope-giver, which I absolutely loved and may be one of the best parts. Throughout the book the author created many mysteries about Meadow Lark and halfway solves them all, but by the end I was expecting to come to some solid conclusion on Meadow Lark’s family life; none came. You are left to decide yourself whether or not she was an angel. I am uncertain as to whether this detracted because I am personally, a big fan of solid endings. Still, I will definitely nominate this for an award, but after much difficulty comparing it with my favorite books, Nest and Bird, I have to come to the conclusion that it is third or fourth on my list. Overall though, this book really surprised me with its depth and I would not mind reading it again. I definitely recommend this book to people wanting a really touching, yet exciting read and who are anywhere from nine to thirteen.

  2. When I first started this book, I wasn’t sure that it would be anything special. The writing style was good, but not as good as some of the other books I’d read this year. However, after the first few chapters, particularly after the main character River meets Meadow Lark, the story became more complex and the whole book was suddenly much more interesting and the characters more relatable. On the note of the characters, River and all the characters she interacts with are in the age range of eleven to maybe twelve, and the author made it so that even I, a fourteen-year-old, could relate to the younger characters and become interested in their story.
    I agree with Krista that River’s accent seemed a bit forced. In fact, it was one of the things that made me doubt this book in the first few chapters. Throughout the book, it wavered in intensity and use and that distracted me from the story, especially in the first few chapters. I found myself having to occasionally re-read sentences to make sense of them. However, as I read on, I became more used to the accent and it became one of River’s endearing traits.
    The setting is probably my favorite part of this book. The imagery used at the river gave me a clear picture of River’s surroundings and helped to set the mood of each scene. Another setting that I enjoyed reading about was River’s older brother Theron’s room. He left home a while before the story starts, and when River misses him she goes into his room to look at his things. I could picture that room very clearly, although it was only mentioned a few times in the book.
    Overall, I really liked this book and it’s definitely something to consider, and this book is in my top seven for the Mock Newbery.

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