Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent is the Christian Writer’s Guild winner for 2007. I have no problem understanding why they picked this book. It is a very interesting read.
Set in 1932 in Virginia, Jessilyn’s family, the Lassiters are about to set the town on it’s ear, whether they meant to or not. Gemma’s family is killed in a tragic fire. The Lassiters decide to take her in and adopt her as their own. Which in and of itself sounds great, except Gemma is black. This does not set well with the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.
Jessilyn finds out the summer of her 13th birthday that not all people have the same beliefs as her and her family. While trying to figure out why some girls act so strangly when boys are around and why boys are just generally speaking weird, she also discovers that not everything is as it seems.
These are all very adult lessons for a 13 year old to learn, but Jessilyn can’t ever leave a good mystery alone. She thinks it is her right to “snoop” and listen to find things out. The big problem with that is she finds out things she shouldn’t and also doesn’t get all the facts to be able to know the true story. She is independent and refuses to let anyone tell her what to do, which drives her parents crazy and leaves her open to getting in lots of trouble.
I have about 10 more things that I would like to talk to you about with this book. Yet I don’t want to give anything away. This is a good read for the middle of the winter as it is set in the middle of a hot summer in Virginia. They are complaining about it being to hot to even swim and it is snowing and blowing here. It is a thought provoking book too, how often do we use threats and violence to get our way in what we think or believe.
P.S. The Reading group that meets at the Baker Book Store in Kentwood will be doing this book for February