From Ginny Pisciotta
Author: Lynn Austin
Candle in the Darkness
Caroline Fletcher is the daughter of a wealthy slave owner in Virginia. Unlike her family and most everyone around her, she has always thought of slaves as people and friends rather than property. Her feelings against slavery grow stronger as she witnesses the horrific injustices against slaves in both her own city home and on her uncle’s plantation. After the death of her mother she is sent to live with relatives in Philadelphia where she meets abolitionist Rev. Nathaniel Greene and becomes convinced she must help the abolitionist cause.
She eventually returns home, falls in love and becomes engaged. Before she can get married, Virginia secedes from the Union and war breaks out. Her fiancé, and other loved ones go to fight on the side of the Confederacy. She does her part to help care for the thousands of injured Confederate soldiers. When she is contacted by a cousin from Philadelphia who is now a prisoner of war near her home, she visits him. Knowing her feelings about slavery, he asks her to help him and other union soldiers to escape, and also to act as a spy giving the North whatever information she finds out.
Caroline has a difficult and dangerous decision to make. Should she act as a spy for the north to help bring freedom to the slaves, but betray the man she loves, family and friends? If caught she would most likely be hung. People are already suspicious of her because of her views on slavery.
Candle in the Darkness is a riveting novel that asks hard questions, vividly portrays the horrors of slavery and of war, and shows how quickly lives and lifestyles can be irrevocably changed .
This is the first title in the Refiner’s Fire series. The other 2 are Fire by Night and A Light to My Path.
From Luke, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Park, Linda Sue
A long walk to water
Most young people love to read fiction and fantasy novels. The otherworldly elements and enticing plot lines draw them to these types of stories. Historical fiction is an equally effective genre which satisfies one’s craving for reading. A Long Walk to Water is one such book.
The book takes place in Africa, specifically the countries Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya. It follows the lives of Salva, the son of the judge of the Loun-Ariik village, and Nya, niece of the head of the Nuer village. Salva is growing up in a warring 1985 southern Sudanese village. The government is in turmoil and war is engulfing the country. One day while at school a shooting occurs nearby, so the students run out so the army won’t recruit them. Salva has no relatives nearby and is lost. His journey to refugee camps takes him to Ethiopia, Kenya, and later the United States.
Nya is a young girl of the Nuer village. Every day she must walk miles to get water and miles to go home. At noon when she gets home she gets a quick bite to eat and makes the long trek for water. Then some mysterious men come to the village. They say there is water where they perform their traditional ceremonies, but the Nuer are doubtful of this. The people begin to drill a well. Will there be water?
This book is a great quick read. On a scale of 1-10 I would rate this book a 7.5. The plot keeps your attention and makes you want to read more. The book is also very short with large type, so if you’re looking for a break between novels this book is right for you.
From Alexis, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Park, Linda Sue
A Long Walk to Water
The new book A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park is about the struggles of two children living at two different times in Southern Sudan. It is a dual narrative telling the story of two kids named Nya and Salva. Salva is a young boy living in 1985. He is sitting in school when his school and the surrounding area were attacked by rebel soldiers. He escapes into the brush and begins a long dangerous journey across his war torn country to get to the refugee center. The refugee center is closed down as the Ethiopian government is on the brink of collapse. He then makes yet another journey to Kenya where he is chosen to go to America. There he discovers the location of his father that he lost over twenty years ago. He then returns to America and begins to find ways to help the people of Sudan. Nya is a young girl living in 2008. She must walk for 8 hours a day in order to bring home water for her family. That is until a group of men come to her village. They built a well and Nya would never have to walk hours for water again, and it was all because of Salva and his efforts to help the people of Sudan. I would suggest this book to everyone. This book is a very fast read and I couldn’t put it down. It was a nonfiction book that was a duel narrative, hich made the book interesting. I usually don’t like dual narrative or reading non-fiction stories for entertainment, but this book was really interesting. I think it teaches a great lesson. It teaches that no matter who you are and where you come from you can make a difference, just as Salva helped Nya and her village. Even though he spent a big part of his childhood in a refugee camp, he was still able to make a difference in the lives of many people.
Alicia, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Griffin, Adele
Picture the Dead
I read the book Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin. This book was about a girl named Jenny who was engaged to a rich man named William Pritchett. When Will gets killed somehow in the war, Jenny becomes very upset, and so do Will’s parents, whom she is living with at the time. Mr. Pritchett then says he wants to go see a medium. After they went to the medium, Jenny began to see signs, as if Will was trying to reach her. Jenny then ended up falling in love with Will’s brother, but when she uncovers the truth about him, things come to a very bad ending. I would recommend this book to anyone in 7th, 8th or 9th grade. It can get a little creepy, so it should be meant for people who won’t be bothered by that. This book was a little too predictable, but it was good all the same.
From Monica Salo
The mostly true adventures of Homer P. Figg
author: Rodman Philbrick.
Homer’s older brother is forced to join the Union Army under false conditions by their wicked uncle. Homer, age 12, sets out to find his brother and hopefully relieve him of his duties. He tries to trace the path of the regiment, encountering many misadventures along the way including being abducted, being robbed and put in a cage with pigs, and traveling with a questionable man and his medicine show. Homer eventually ends up at Gettysburg on the eve of one of the most important battles. Homer is courageous, but he has a quick tongue that is always on the path of a lie, making this a fun read while encountering many of the serious sides of the Civil War.