Title: A Northern Light (aka A Gathering Light)
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Age Group/Genre: Young Adult
A Northern Light is set in the Adirondack Mountains of New York with sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey as the main character. After her mother dies and brother leaves, Mattie is left on the farm with her sisters and dad. Now, she is left with the responsibility of helping out her dad on the farm and keeping a promise to her mother.
Mattie takes a job at the Glenmore to help bring some income for her family. This is where she meets Grace Brown and also where Grace gives her a bunch of letters to burn. But before Mattie can burn them, Grace's dead body is found in the lake. It is through the letters that Mattie learns what really happened to Grace.
The thing is, Mattie was never good at the whole farming/mothering thing. Mattie was good in school and especially writing. She wants to leave for college, but can she pull herself away from the responsibilities she has with her family and follow her dreams???
I picked this book up because it was a group read for Wild Things: YA Grown Up at Goodreads and I thank everyone there that voted for this book. A Northern Light is a wonderful coming-of-age story that actually deals with some tough realistic family issues that can somewhat still be related to today's teenagers...like having to deal with a parent's death (particularly breast cancer), taking care of siblings, and racism. Donnelly also wrote about childbirth and how it isn't pretty, but the result can be wonderful.
And probably my favorite, favorite, favorite part of the novel was Mattie's love for learning and words. I found myself loving the story as a whole, but I really looked forward to Mattie's word of the day and her duals with Weaver.
Mattie Gokey is one of my new favorite characters and she is hard to forget. I recommend this book to everyone so go pick it up!!!
Favorite parts of this story...
Recouriumphoration. Re for "again," and cour for "courage" and a bit of triumph tacked on, too, for good measure. Maybe it will get into the dictionary one day, I thought. And if it does, everyone will know its meaning: to have one's hope restored. Mattie, page 159
Words are just words, Royal would say. But words are more powerful than anything. Mattie, page 292
I know it is a bad thing to break a promise, but I think now that it is a worse thing to let a promise break you.
Now go and pick up your favorite cup of tea (or whatever you prefer) and HAPPY readings!!!