So, after reading Assassin by Anna Myers recently, I went on an all-out Myers binge.
I read Time of the Witches, Tulsa Burning, Stolen by the Sea, Graveyard Girl, Flying Blind, Fire in the Hills, and When the Bough Breaks.
I read them one after another. Some took me one day. Some took a little more.
I enjoyed them all, but my favorite, hands down, was When the Bough Breaks. I liked the complexity of the book. Instead of one storyline, there were two, woven together – and I liked both of them. Sometimes when I read a book from multiple points of view, I prefer one character and want the other to shut up and let me get back to my favorite. This time, both were intriguing. Both had terrible secrets – and both were satisfying to discover.
I also still love the little things you find in a book written by a person you actually know in real life. One of the storylines – the one featuring teenager Ophelia – includes a scene at the cemetery, which is across the street from the school. I’ve been to Myers’ hometown, and the cemetery in that town is indeed right across from the school. I was driving around, killing time before a SCBWI Oklahoma workshop, when I went by the school and noticed the cemetery nearby. I thought it was a little creepy and strange, and wondered what the students though. Later, when I read the When the Bough Breaks, I was delighted to see the school and cemetery put to use in literature.
Myers’ books are such a good way to combine fiction with historical events. We homeschool, and I think her work will be a great way to supplement history when we are doing studies this year. My oldest daughter doesn’t care for history, but I think that’s just because she hasn’t had it come alive for her yet. She enjoyed Assassin. Now I just need to add more historical fiction to the curriculum.
Time of the Witches – This one focuses on the Salem witch trials and the effect on the life of an orphan named Drucilla. She is separated from her bff, Gabe, and moves in with a crazypants woman and her weird family. After she and her foster sister start visiting the servant of the town’s new reverend, several girls, including Drucilla, start claiming they are being attacked by witches.
Tulsa Burning – A story of a boy named Noble who lives in the small town of Wekiwa and faces the Tulsa race riot of 1921. His friend is trapped in Tulsa, and Noble (nicknamed “Nobe”) goes into the burning city to find him. Wekiwa had a lot of twists with who was related to who – I would have liked to have seen a dossier on all of the people who lived in the town!
Stolen by the Sea – A girl named Maggie rides out the Galveston hurricane of 1900. I didn’t even know about this event before reading the book. According to Wikipedia, the Galveston hurricane is the deadliest natural disaster to ever strike the United States. An estimated 6,000-12,000 people died. In the book, Maggie stays in her home, struggling for survival with the help of Felipe, a Mexican boy from the orphanage who works for her father.
Graveyard Girl – Another new event for me – the yellow fever epidemic in Memphis in 1878. I loved the newspaper quotes at the beginning. I also adored a quote from Grace, the Graveyard Girl, about life and death. This was a library book, and I meant to write it down before I returned the book yesterday, but of course I didn’t. Figures. I did not really love the artwork on the front, and I was surprised at how that colored my view of the title character. It reminded me of someone, and that was hard to shake. On Amazon there’s a different cover for the paperback, which obscures Grace’s face. I wish I’d seen that one first.
Flying Blind – Told from two points of view – a young boy named Ben and…wait for it…a macaw named Murphy! I enjoyed it. This book looked at the problem of plume hunting in Florida at the turn of the 20th century. The line between right and wrong isn’t so clear when Ben learns that two of the plume hunters are orphans that use the sales of feathers to survive. Plume hunting took a terrible toll on birds, with millions being killed every year just for fashionable hats for women.
Fire in the Hills – This one was about a girl in a tiny Oklahoma town who loses her mother and cares for an ill military deserter during World War I. I liked the main character, Hallie, quite a bit and wouldn’t have minded this story going on a little longer.
All in all, eight enjoyable books. I probably should have spread them out a little more so I could give each one a post. Or maybe I should get back to writing my own novels.
When you find an author you like, do you rush and read everything by them that you can get your hands on? What authors have inspired you to race through all their books?