I LOVE this cover. You have to see it in person to see how beautiful it is, but it's like rose gold and shimmery and gorgeous. So eye catching!
Why I Wanted to Read This:
I had been hearing a lot of buzz about this book, even before it was released. I was lucky enough to get an ARC in the mail, but it still took me a few months to get it read. Here's the synopsis from GoodReads:
Growing up in the shadows cast by two world wars, Annabelle has lived a mostly quiet, steady life in her small Pennsylvania town. Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty quickly reveals herself to be cruel and manipulative, and while her bullying seems isolated at first, things quickly escalate, and reclusive World War I veteran Toby becomes a target of her attacks. While others have always seen Toby’s strangeness, Annabelle knows only kindness. She will soon need to find the courage to stand as a lone voice of justice as tensions mount.Romance?: Nope, not that kind of book.
This was a great read. The only reason I gave it four cookies was because I had a hard time getting into the story. I feel like this was my fault. Reading the synopsis made me know there was going to be a lot of times my stomach would be in knots while reading this book. It made me a little hesitant about diving right in, so I took my time. When I let myself go, I realized that my fears came true, but the way the author handles it all made it an easy read. There was a lot of tension and my stomach was in knots, but one reason I was too upset while reading this is that Annabelle always has someone on her side. People, her parents, believe her. Having someone in her corner the whole time gives her the confidence she needs to stand up for the innocent and for herself.
I love the setting. This was set at the start of World War 2, in a rural area. Annabelle goes to school in a one room schoolhouse, but there are also cars. It's like the cusp of the technological revolution. Annabelle's parents are hard working farmers, but also very much devoted to their children. Annabelle's grandparents and an aunt live with them as well. These things are during a time that always fascinates me, there is such an innocence about the world still. And that's what makes this book so powerful. We see a little girl on the verge of growing up who loses her innocence pretty quickly. What happens to her and her world changes her, makes her see how the world really is, but it doesn't destroy her. The author does a great job of walking the fine line between destroying Annabelle and using the situation to make her stronger.
One of my favorite parts of this book is how much takes place in the family kitchen. Most of Annabelle's confessions to her family happen around the table or when she is helping her mom cooking and baking. I love that! This is what happens in my family, the kitchen is the heart of our home and some of our best times are when I am cooking or cleaning up and my kids are doing homework and my husband is helping them or me and we are all just enjoying being together. Even though the events that happen in this book are serious, you just know that their kitchen is the room that has the most love and trust.
To Sum Up: This book didn't turn out to be the hard read I had expected. It was innocent and interesting and a little disturbing. It would be a great read for a middle school book club!
Book sent to me from Rachel at Penguin. Thanks Rachel!