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I know this comment is going to make me sound old and cranky (“Oh, the good old days. . .”) but I’m going to say it anyway. Authors just don’t write books for young adults like this one anymore. Paterson’s book is an award winning classic for so many reasons:

  • The setting (island in the Chesapeake Bay) is both realistic and spectacular .
  • Louise’s struggles (jealousy of her sister; fighting for her parent’s love; longing to belong) are very real.
  • The island characters are unique without being quirky, and they have depth without being pretentious.
  • The plot is simple, but you are immediately engaged in Louise’s life.

However, the most satisfying part of the book for me is the ending. Louise’s problems don’t magically disappear. But through hard work and time, Louise learns to understand her own family, come to peace with her own life, and can even use her own experiences to help others.

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