“When Eddie B. dared me to walk the net bridge where we’d seen an alligator and another kid got bit by a coral snake, I wasn’t scared – I just didn’t feel like doing it right then.” So begins this mid-grade novel by first-time author Danette Haworth. From the get-go, I was drawn in by Violet’s voice. Here’s a girl with spunk and sass. Violet lives in Florida, which is kind of a mecca for people from cold northern climes like Michigan. Growing up in the Western part of the state, where in winter the snow drifted up to the roof of our house, we always dreamed about Florida. So it’s no surprise that the new girl from Detroit, Michigan, who moves into Violet’s neighborhood has already been to Disney World.
This new girl, Melissa, is the same age as Violet and her best friend Lottie. But Melissa is more into make-up and movie magazines, while Violet loves to run wild in the great out-of-doors. One thing I really like about this book besides Violet’s voice is that the characters spend a lot of time outside. They gather bugs and explore hollow trees. They catch fish and then gut them and fry them. There is no mention of video games or cell phones or computers, which makes me think that this story takes place in the past. However, I hope it encourages modern readers to step outside their screen doors and take a look.
According to her bio, Danette Haworth grew up in a military family, and has lived in Turkey and England. Sounds like she’s got plenty of material for her next book. Now she lives in Florida, the lightning capital of the U.S.A. where there are indeed alligators and coral snakes.
I was first attracted to this book because of its title. I’ve asked Danette to write a little about how she came up with it, and the importance of proper nouns, and I’ll be posting that in a day or two.