Home Free by Sharon Jennings

29 Mar

Publisher: Second Story Press
Released: April 7, 2009
Genre: MG contemp
For review from publisher.

A GUTSY GIRL BOOK

My name is Lee Mets (honest), and this is my book I’m part of the writing club, which is fantastic, since what I want to be most is a writer. My mother says that girls don’t grow up to be writers, they can only be nurses or teachers. But it’s the 1960s, not the 50s or 40s, and I think she may be wrong. Mrs. Gowdy, who is my writing teacher, says that I have a gift. I’m going to use it to tell you the story of my summer.

It was a summer that was both wonderful and terribly sad. The sad part is still painful for me to write about, but I will because that’s what writers do. My summer began with the most exciting thing that ever happened on our street. A real-life orphan, by the name of Cassandra Jovanovich, moved in right across from my house. All the best stories are about orphans, and because of Cassandra, this story is no exception. Because of her, I got to write a play, and she starred in it. Because of her, I now know that being an orphan is not exciting, in fact it is the opposite.

But you’ll have to read my story to find out why.

From Second Story Press website.

 

I normally hate describing books as “cute”, but that’s exactly what Home Free is:  a cute book. But underneath the cuteness of the narrator’s voice is a more serious tone. There are some major issues tackled in Home Free. And it’s the way that these issues are presented that make this a book that I think all kids should read.

I HATE kids’ books that have a clear moral agenda to them and the reader is hit over the head with it every single page. Kids are smart. They know when they are being preached at. But Jennings doesn’t do that at all.  Yes, there are morals and yes, there are messages about how to act, how to treat each other, but they are woven so expertly into Lee’s story that they weren’t suffocating or obnoxious.

I loved that the whole book was presented as a project for a school writing club. Lee is a very opinionated character and as a result she has a very strong voice. And the best part? Never once did I feel like I was reading what an adult thinks a kid should sound like.

A lot happens in Lee’s life and each event teaches her sometime about life, but like I said, it wasn’t preachy by any means. What she learns is very organic to her story and never sticks out like an after school special or anything.

And, of course, being from PEI I loved and could totally understand Lee’s slight obsession with Anne of Green Gables. I went through a similar period when I was around 11. 🙂

I wasn’t sure at first if I was going to like Home Free, but  I ended up really enjoying it.

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