Full disclosure: Caroline Starr Rose is a fellow Class of 2k12er.
Here is the official blurb from the publisher:
I’ve known it since last night:
It’s been too long to expect them to return.
May is helping out on a neighbor’s Kansas prairie homestead—just until Christmas, says Pa. She wants to contribute, but it’s hard to be separated from her family by 15 long, unfamiliar miles. Then the unthinkable happens: May is abandoned. Trapped in a tiny snow-covered sod house, isolated from family and neighbors, May must prepare for the oncoming winter. While fighting to survive, May’s memories of her struggles with reading at school come back to haunt her. But she’s determined to find her way home again. Caroline Starr Rose’s fast-paced novel, written in beautiful and riveting verse, gives readers a strong new heroine to love.
This book in verses is kind of quiet and unassuming. Like a lot of my favorite books or songs, you have to be paying attention to every word. When you are, you’ll feel like you got punched in the gut because while Caroline Starr Rose is a minimalist writer, she is one who chooses each word with tremendous care.
Take for instance the second poem. May B. has just been told that she is to be sent away to work a stranger’s farm. She wonders why her brother is not sent instead and concludes: “boys are necessary.” Man, this just about ripped my guts out. Those three words say loads about how this young girl has been taught to value herself and how girls were viewed in this rough pioneer time. My heart broke for May B. in those three words.
But May B. is a fighter. She has dreams and desires. She’s told they are impossible, but she still believes in possibilities. While I’m not normally a big fan of historicals (somehow I missed out on falling in love with the Little House on the Prairie novels), this pioneer story gripped me to the end. May B’s struggle to survive on her own and the way the setting insinuates itself throughout the story are so well done.
Librarians should definitely get this book on their shelves. Both boys and girls will love it, and it’s perfect for struggling readers!
Check out the links below to see what the other Bookanistas are talking about!
Christine Fonseca interviews author Denise Grover Swank
Stasia Ward Kehoe interviews DIES IRAE author Christine Fonseca
Debra Driza is entranced by HEMLOCK
Katy Upperman delves into THE DISENCHANTMENTS
Nikki Katz celebrates CINDER
Tracy Banghart marvels at JULIET IMMORTAL
Jessica Love spotlights SHINE