October 2, 2018

Book Review: Skylark and Wallcreeper by Anne O'Brien Carelli

Title: Skylark and Wallcreeper
Author: Anne O'Brien Carelli
Copy Obtained: From publisher

About the Book from Goodreads
While helping her granny Collette evacuate to a makeshift shelter in Brooklyn during Superstorm Sandy, Lily uncovers secrets of her grandmother's past as a member of the French Resistance during WWII.

Queens, 2012.

Hurricane Sandy is flooding New York City, and Lily is at a nursing home with her grandmother, Collette. Lily visits Collette often, as she is beginning to lose her memories. When the National Guard shows up to evacuate the building and take them to safety at the Park Slope armory in Brooklyn, Lily's granny suddenly produces a red box she's hidden in a closet for years. Once they get to safety, Lily opens the box, where she finds an old, beautiful Montblanc pen. Granny tells Lily that the pen is very important and that she has to take care of it, as well as some letters written in French.

But Lily loses the pen in the course of helping other nursing home residents, and as she searches the city trying to find it, she learns more about her grandmother's past in France and begins to uncover the significance of the pen with the help of her best friend, a quirky pen expert, and a larger-than-life, off-Broadway understudy. Told in alternating sections (2012 and 1944), this engaging book explores a deep friendship during difficult times and the importance of family.

One sentence review: Great historical fiction that gives a view of WWII that isn't as prevalent in middle-grade books. 
Best for readers who: Enjoy history - specifically WWII history.  Also, readers who can hand a more serious book
Best Stick-with-You Image: When Collette was almost caught delivering messages
Library Thoughts: Although I don't think it's a book every kid can read I think it brings to life a part of WWII not often shared with middle-school students, so yes I would put in the media center. 

I am not a huge historical fiction fan.  I like it, but it's not my first choice when picking a book to read (unlike my daughter who loves historical fiction!).  But this one intrigued me because of its subject and how it is written.  I loved that it went back and forth between current time and the past.  It gave me a cool perspective on Collette (the grandma) and reminded me that when we see the elderly to not forget they can have some of the most amazing pasts.  We need to learn those pasts so they aren't lost.  

The story of the resistance was great.  So many books look at the Holocaust during WWII which is very important, but it was nice to see what else was happening and how people fought back.  I learned a lot and feel I have a better understanding now! This part of the story was also hard for me just because I feel things so strongly when I read, so I felt so much stress and nervousness! 

The whole story with Lily looking for the pen was great.  Some fantastic characters came into play.  Some may think their big personalities weren't necessary to the telling of the story, but I liked them! This is a long book, and adding these characters in kept my interest.  And I felt like they were well woven into the story.  

In the end, I enjoyed it.  I do know that it's not a book that any middle school can pick up and read.  The size alone will scare some, but it's one that I know if I book talk to students I know well, they'll read it and be able to talk it up to others! 

1 comment:

  1. I do love historical fiction and this sounds like a book I would really enjoy. Thanks for telling me about it.