Sunday, November 28, 2010

Heaven by Angela Johnson

This book was hard for me to rate, but I gave it a rating of three out of five. Marley lives in the small town of Heaven, Ohio, and she enjoys the peace and simple life she finds there. She meets a girl named Shoogy who becomes her best friend. Marley also babysits for a man named Bobby, and she loves looking after his daughter. Marley receives letters from her Uncle Jack throughout the book, and she's puzzled about why her family sends him money on a regular basis and what he's doing with himself. The problem arises when Marley receives a letter from Alabama and discovers that her parents have been keeping a big secret from her. The truth is tearing Marley apart, and she's not sure what will become of her life.

This book won the Coretta Scott King Award and has a wonderful message. The main reason for my rating of the book is that it focuses on characterization and not so much on the plot. Most of my students prefer books with more action, entertainment, or suspense, so I'm not sure how they might respond to this book. Their preferences are not good or bad, but they're something I consider when I rate the books on my blog. Marley's conflict is one that connects with many young people, although perhaps not in the exact same way. Adolescents are interested in knowing who they are and how they fit into the world. This book deals with those issues.

Lexile level from 790

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