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Original Essays | June 20, 2014

Lauren Owen: IMG The Other Vampire

It's a wild and thundery night. Inside a ramshackle old manor house, a beautiful young girl lies asleep in bed. At the window, a figure watches... Continue »


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Lily's Crossing (Yearling Newbery) by Patricia Reill Giff
Lily's Crossing (Yearling Newbery)

3OH!3, February 11, 2009

While Lily Mollohan looks forward to the comforting routine of going to her summer cabin in Rockaway, the ten year-old girl feels the drastic impacts that World War II has on everyone. When Lily is left without her father or best friend, both of whom are involved in supporting the war, she resorts to befriending a Hungarian refugee, Albert.

Patricia Reilly Giff's concise paragraphs that flow together into the speech manner of a young child expertly describe the details in the book. I loved how I could almost feel the sun on my face at the sandy beach, or how I would feel humiliation deep inside as Lily first met Albert and he teased her about her disguise.

I also loved the swingy, up-beat vibe that Giff added as part of growing up in the 1940s. Even though the effects of war were felt, there were still songs mentioned that were full of brass and swing. I could feel like I was sitting in the living right next to Lily's Gram, listening to the radio and hoping for better news about the war.

However, Giff failed to intrigue the reader from the beginning. Lily's story did not start at Rockaway, but when she was packing. I thought that it didn't relate enough to the story and that it bored the reader. If the paragraphs were going to be swift and fast-paced for the rest of the story, the beginning should catch the reader in the same manner.

I believe Giff's style of writing might have had more impact if it started in the present and went back in time and told of Lily's memories of Rockaway. To have it in the present tense it seemed very childish and I thought it had a very low reading level.

Overall, I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars because I thought the reading level was a little too low for the potential Giff's topic could have had. I would recommend this novel for grades 5 or 6, but all the way up to grade 8 for analyzing the themes in the book, such as friendship or honesty.
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