Life as an O’Donnell is all twelve-year-old Addy knows, and life as an O’Donnell means trouble.
Tucked away in a gray patch of woods called No-Bob, the O’Donnell clan has nothing but a bad reputation. So when Addy’s mama abandons her on the afternoon of Mr. Frank Russell’s wedding celebration, nobody is very surprised. A reluctant Mr. Frank and his new wife take Addy in, and Addy does everything she can to prove that at least one O’Donnell has promise. But one day, Addy witnesses a terrible event that brings her old world crashing into the new.
As she finds herself being pulled back into No-Bob and the grips of her O’Donnell kin, Addy is faced with the biggest decision of her life. Can she somehow find the courage to do what’s right, even if it means betraying one of her own?
This novel takes place 10 years after HOW I FOUND THE STRONG ended and deals with the reconstruction and race relations after the war. Told from the point of view of 13 year old Addy, who is abandoned by her redneck family and taken in by Shanks (from STRONG) and his new wife. There Addy learns she can make different decisions than those dictated by her own racist family. Vivid scenes involving the Ku Klux Klan, a school burning and attempted lynching add drama to this riveting coming of age historical novel.
Author, Margaret McMullen captures the hardship and hardscrabble feel of this post-Civil War time as well as the hopeful rebuilding of southern communities.
"McMullan again proves herself to be a superb prose stylist, creating a haunting portrait..." Kirkus Starred 10/01/07 Kirkus Reviews, Starred
"This will make a fine addition to libraries seeking to expand their historical fiction offerings." SLJ November 2007 STARRED School Library Journal, Starred
"The simple prose can be pure poetry." Booklist 10/01/07 Booklist, ALA
"[A] deeply philosophical, first-person account of life...uplifting and heartbreaking as the same time." Bookpage, November 2007 Bookpage
"McMullan allows Addy to tell her own tale in an ingenuous present tense." The Horn Book Jan/Feb 2008 Horn Book
"Addie's voice is likable and she embodies the common theme in YA literature of rising above." KLIATT 11/01/07 KLIATT
"Suspenseful plotting and language...very appealing characters...a compelling portrait of life in Mississippi during Reconstruction." Bulletin February 2008 Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"This first-person, present-tense narrative makes Addy's story vibrant and realistic." VOYA February 2008 VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)
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