Monday, November 7, 2016

Knight, Mary. Saving Wonder.

Knight, Mary.  Saving Wonder.  Scholastic Press  2016  272p  $16.99     ISBN 978-0-545-82893-2    ms/hs  Realistic fiction        VG-BN    

Because his family’s deaths were the results of mining accidents, Curley and his grandfather scrape by on the payout from an informal agreement they have with the coal-mining company.  His grandfather pushes Curley to excel at school, cultivating a love of language through “words of the week.”

Curley and his best friend Jules, as well as the mine owner’s son, JD, band together to stop the coal company from destroying the forest they all love.  They attempt to stop clear-cutting and surface-mining, but doing so places Curley and his grandfather at risk of losing their cash claim.

Engaging characters with rich back stories are developed against an authentic Appalachian setting. The strong and caring relationship between Curley and “Pawpaw” is especially appealing.  Curley’s nascent love interest in his best friend Jules is handled matter-of-factly and sensitively.  Mary Knight has written a memorable debut novel.       

Summary: Curley is an orphan living with his grandfather. He risks losing his home if he cannot decide which course to take when confronting the coal company that intends to destroy his home, just as it destroyed his family.

Appalachia-Fiction, Coal mining-Fiction               --Hilary Welliver

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