Thursday, July 28, 2011

Review: A Northern Light

Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Publish date: 2003
Source: Library
"Sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey has big dreams but little hope of seeing them come true. Desperate for money, she takes a job at the Glenmore, where hotel guest Grace Brown asks her to burn a bundle of secret letters. But when Grace's drowned body is fished from the lake, Mattie discovers the letters reveal the grim truth behind a murder.

Set in 1906 against a backdrop of the murder that inspired Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy, this astonishing novel weaves romance, history, and a murder mystery into something moving, real, and wholly original."

I'm conflicted about this book. On one hand, I loved the main character. Mattie was very smart and a feminist before her time, which I am all about. I loved that she loved books and it was interesting to see which ones she discussed within the novel. I also really liked the dialogue within the novel; it was very real, unlike some historical novels' dialogue can seem. The characters used slang and were crude, especially the teenagers, just like teens really are. The novel painted a very real portrait of what life in 1906 rural North America might have been.

That said, I found the novel to be very slow moving. I knew it was a mystery, so I kept waiting for the plot to pick up, but it never did. The narration switches back between spring and summer Mattie, which was kind of confusing at first, but it soon became easy to differentiate. Like I said, though, the plot never picked up, which definitely affected my enjoyment of the story. A Northern Light has very high ratings on both Amazon and Goodreads, so I guess it just wasn't my kind of book.

Next up: Jake, Reinvented (for school)

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