Monday, November 16, 2009

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Genre: Historical

Release Date: 2003 (was also a 2004 Printz Honor book)

About the Book: Sixteen-Year-Old Mattie is trying to hold her family together after her mother has passed away. Mattie struggles with her responsibility to her family and her passion for writing and wanting to escape the farm. When she gets a summer job at a lodge on Big Moose Lake, she meets a young woman named Grace Brown who tells Mattie to burn her letters. When Grace shows up dead in the lake, Mattie begins to read Grace's letters and pieces together not only Grace's murder, but her own life and what she must do.

GreenBeanTeenQueen: Sometimes there are books that draw you in so completely to the story and the characters you don't want to let go. This was one of those reads. I loved this book.

A Northern Light is a richly layered character driven novel that is a joy to read. The great thing about Jennifer Donnelly is that I never felt she bogged down in the details as some writers do, especially when it comes to historical fiction. I would give this one to readers who might shy away from that genre because Mattie and her story are so wonderfully drawn, readers can relate no matter what time period they live in.

There was so much happening in this book it was a thrill to keep reading. Even the minor characters are rich and no one ever fell flat to me. The Grace Brown part of the story is based on a true story and the author ties the true events together seamlessly with her fictional accounts.

If you need a book to prove that young adult novels are not all fluff and romance, A Northern Light is the perfect book to suggest.

Full Disclosure: My copy was from the library.


  1. I've been debating on buying this one for awhile now. Thanks for the review, I'm gonna have to read this one.

  2. This one sounds so good, and complicated, and just darn interesting. I am going to have to tag it at the library for sure, if not get my own copy. Great review - made me want to pick it up immediately!

  3. I've had this on my TBR pile for ages and just never get around to reading it - I think you review has just bumped it up to the top of the pile:)

  4. This is on my list of top reads for the year. I thought it was a wonderful book too!

  5. LOVED this book. I also meet the author while I taught down in Otselic Valley, where Grace Brown was from. The freshmen always took a field trip to the cemetery to look at her grave and the Loomis Gangs. Fun stuff!


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