13-yr-old Salamanca retraces with her grandparents the route taken by her mother when suddenly she left Sal and her father, and went to Lewiston, Idaho. Along the way, Sal tells her grandparents the story of moving from Kentucky to Ohio, and of how Phoebe, a new friend, also had a mother leave. The journey west combines with stories of the past to determine the future of Sal’s family.
This novel won the Newbery Award in 1995, and deserves all the praise it has gotten over the years. It is a powerful exploration and celebration of life, loss, new love, and mature love. Creech gives Sal’s voice an aching, coming-of-age truthfulness that should be experienced by everyone, and not just middle readers. If you’ve not done so already, read this book!
Jane has a Plan. She has been working on her Plan for a while now. The Plan is to fly home for Christmas and not survive the flight. Jane is suicidal; she has been living at Life House for the past several months because she has had a couple of “incidents”. But she has convinced the staff and built up enough points to take a trip home for Christmas. She has a combo of sleeping pills that she plans to take on the flight so she never wakes up. Simple plan. Only she doesn’t count on the plane crashing and being one of the only survivors. The other survivor is Paul, the guy who sits beside her on the plane. Now Jane has to decide if she wants to live or if she really wants to die.
Jane was a difficult character. It was hard to like or identify with her in the beginning of the book. It seemed like she was suicidal because she thought she was supposed to be. Her father and grandmother both committed suicide so therefore she was expected to? Her only reason given for being depressed seemed to be her father’s suicide. I really didn’t buy into her depression or suicidal tendencies. They didn’t seem real for some reason. Maybe it just needed better explaining in the book to make me believe.
Once the plane crash occurred, the story did pick up and the action was a bit more believable. I did have a few problems with the storytelling, mainly from lack of details. For instance, when they decide to move from the crash area up the mountain it seems from the writing that they just go; they don’t pack their things or prepare in anyway. But once they get to the top of the mountain they have all their supplies. There are little instances like that throughout the book where the details seem to be missing from the narrative. I wondered the entire time they were climbing the mountain how they were doing it with their supplies; guess that was too much detail to deal with in the writing.
Jane and Paul seem like a good match for the mountain. I didn’t really like either of them, but I found myself rooting for them to survive (I did feel a little cheated knowing only one would survive…the cover says so!). They made a good team and I did believe their friendship. Not sure I believe love grew in such a short amount of time, but stranger things can happen in such dire circumstances.
Overall this was a good survival book. Not sure it should be compared to Hatchet or Lost but it was an entertaining and very fast read.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher at PLA Conference 2012.