Review of the Week

one came homeTimberlake, Amy. One Came Home. Fiction. Knopf, 2013. 256p. $16.99. 978-0-375-86925-9. OUTSTANDING GRADES. Grades 5-8.

“So it comes to this, I remember thinking, on June 7, 1871. The date sticks in my mind because it was the date of my sister’s first funeral, and I knew it wasn’t her last. Which was why I left. That’s the long and short of it. But surely, you’d rather hear the long than the short.” This page turner starts with a bang and keeps right on going. Its 13-year-old protagonist, Georgie, is a no-nonsense sharpshooter with a sharp tongue. Her search for her sister and the identity of the young woman buried in what folks think is her sister’s coffin is set in Wisconsin in 1871, against the background of the largest-ever passenger pigeon “nesting” (explained nicely in the author’s afterword). Told in the strong voice of its young heroine, who manages to be both feisty and vulnerable, it combines mystery, adventure and laugh-out-loud humor. The energetic heroine who traipses over rugged territory, uncovers a counterfeiting ring, and comes to an understanding with a stubborn mule. The setting is well-defined and Georgie’s character matures credibly over the course of the book. Appended are a fascinating author’s note and two pages of selected sources.

Elizabeth Overmyer, Independent

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