Tuesday, December 29, 2009

#BookReview: Fireflies in December - Jennifer Erin Valent

If you liked Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird or Kaye Gibbons' Ellen Foster, you'll love Fireflies in December. Set in a small Virginia town during the Depression, it's the story of headstrong Jessilyn Lassiter and her best friend, Gemma. It's a relationship that everyone accepts until Gemma's family dies in a fire and the Lassiters take her in. In a town where blacks "know their place," a black girl living with a white family is not acceptable.

Much like Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird and Ellen in Ellen Foster, Jessilyn doesn't care what anyone thinks of her friendship with Gemma. While her father doesn't hesitate to take in Gemma, it takes her mother a little longer to come around. When the Klan begins to threaten the livelihood of their family, the Lassiters begin to learn that everything and everyone is not as it seems.

Though I liked this book, Jessilyn could be a bit of a brat and at times I wished she would utilize a little more common sense. She could have saved her family a lot of time had she done so. At the same time, I could respect her spunk. Considered Christian lit by the publishing community, I didn't really get a preachy vibe from this story. The author briefly touched upon the family's faith, but it wasn't done in an over the top fashion. I would recommend this to YA readers, as well as adults.
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