Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Carolina Harmony by Marilyn Taylor McDowell

McDowell, Marilyn Taylor, Carolina Harmony. Delacorte Press. 2009. Pgs. 323. Language: G, Sexual Content: G, Violence: G.

It’s 1964 and Carolina has had a rough couple of months. After losing her family in a terrible accident, she goes to live with her grandmother, Auntie Shen. Her life becomes pretty happy until her grandmother suffers a stroke and can’t come home from the hospital for a while. Good intentioned church ladies find her a place to live with Reverend Sanctum, but she’s unhappy there. He’s strict and she constantly feels like she’s a charity case. After that, she’s sent to live with Lily Jean, but her husband doesn’t like her very much and she feels crowded having to live in a house with so many other foster kids, so she runs away and meets Miss Latah, Ray, and Lucas. After living for a couple of weeks with them, the place begins to feel like home. Everything start to feel hunky dory again until trouble comes calling. A boy from the second foster home is running away, but keeps pulling pranks that get Carolina into trouble. A man named Mr. Simms, a relative of Lilly Jean, comes to help out with the sheep shearing, but is not a nice man. When things finally get too bad and she’s forced to run away again, she longs to go back, but can she ever face her newfound family again? Will Auntie Shen get better? Will Carolina be able to find a place to call home? An endearing story that will touch the hearts of those who read it. Although the historical references are scattered throughout the book, they add a certain touch to the book that only makes it better. Readers will easily relate with Carolina and will enjoy reading about her experiences and her unique look on life. Readers who enjoy historical fiction, realistic fiction, and/or adventure books will enjoy reading this. EL(Grades 4 to 6) ESSENTIAL Reviewer: Kira, Youth Services Librarian, HUN Public Library.

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