Courage and Happiness

11 Jul

I am off to jury duty this morning. I haven’t been called for a many years and it seems, since the last time they’ve changed the rules a bit. I can bring knitting, as long as it is on circular needles and I have to serve two days, not one. I packed my bag last night, putting my knitting in a clear Ziploc and adding a few good books.

One book I added was  Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand.

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The book is notable because it is one of the “shipping the kid off to distant relatives” books.

Publisher’s Summary:Reality and fantasy collide in this heartfelt and mysterious novel for fans of Counting by 7s and Bridge to Terabithia, about a girl who must save a magical make-believe world in order to save herself.

Things Finley Hart doesn’t want to talk about:
-Her parents, who are having problems. (But they pretend like they’re not.)
-Being sent to her grandparents’ house for the summer.
-Never having met said grandparents.
-Her blue days—when life feels overwhelming, and it’s hard to keep her head up. (This happens a lot.)

Finley’s only retreat is the Everwood, a forest kingdom that exists in the pages of her notebook. Until she discovers the endless woods behind her grandparents’ house and realizes the Everwood is real—and holds more mysteries than she’d ever imagined, including a family of pirates that she isn’t allowed to talk to, trees covered in ash, and a strange old wizard living in a house made of bones.

With the help of her cousins, Finley sets out on a mission to save the dying Everwood and uncover its secrets. But as the mysteries pile up and the frightening sadness inside her grows, Finley realizes that if she wants to save the Everwood, she’ll first have to save herself.

It is remarkable for another reason. It is the second book I’ve read recently with a title that begins with Some Kind of. Earlier this week, I also read Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart.

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I liked this one a lot more than his first novel, The Honest Truth. I didn’t like the main character of that book, but I really liked Joe, the main character of this one.

Publisher’s Summary:Joseph Johnson has lost just about everyone he’s ever loved. He lost his pa in an accident. He lost his ma and his little sister to sickness. And now, he’s lost his pony-fast, fierce, beautiful Sarah, taken away by a man who had no right to take her.

Joseph can sure enough get her back, though. The odds are stacked against him, but he isn’t about to give up. He will face down deadly animals, dangerous men, and the fury of nature itself on his quest to be reunited with the only family he has left.

Because Joseph Johnson may have lost just about everything. But he hasn’t lost hope. And he hasn’t lost the fire in his belly that says he’s getting his Sarah back-no matter what.

The critically acclaimed author of The Honest Truth returns with a poignant, hopeful, and action-packed story about hearts that won’t be tamed… and spirits that refuse to be broken.

A bit picaresque, Joe exits one problem, only to encounter a new one. He faces friends and foes along the way, but maintains his commitment to Sarah through it all.

These are two great reads for middle graders.

 

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