17 January 2012

Tween Tuesday: May B. by Caroline Starr Rose

Release Date: 10 January 2012
Publisher: Random House
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Get a copy!

Goodreads description:
I've known it since last night:
It's been too long to expect them to return.
Something's happened.

May is helping out on a neighbor's Kansas prairie homestead—just until Christmas, says Pa. She wants to contribute, but it's hard to be separated from her family by 15 long, unfamiliar miles. Then the unthinkable happens: May is abandoned. Trapped in a tiny snow-covered sod house, isolated from family and neighbors, May must prepare for the oncoming winter. While fighting to survive, May's memories of her struggles with reading at school come back to haunt her. But she's determined to find her way home again. Caroline Starr Rose's fast-paced novel, written in beautiful and riveting verse, gives readers a strong new heroine to love
My Thoughts...

In her debut novel, Caroline Starr Rose bring to life the struggles of living on the early American prairie--the isolation, the poverty, and the unknown.  Life for May B. and her family has never been particularly easy, so when the opportunity for May to earn a little on a neighboring farm is presented, her parents would be crazy to pass it up. So May is sent to live with the Oblingers until Christmas to help the new missus get on her feet.  However, things go all wrong when Mrs. Oblinger up and leaves and Mr. Oblinger goes after her...leaving May B. to fend for herself as winter rapidly approaches.
Before Ma ties my ribbon,
I push outside and run.
My feet pound out
I won't go
I won't go
I won't go.

-p6, eARC
May B. is a fierce and resourceful young woman. I really enjoyed watching her develop as a character.  She refuses to be ruled by her learning disability--continuing to dream of someday being a teacher despite her struggles with reading.  Her determination to learn to read was also just one example of how strong she was.  When she's left alone by the Oblingers, she proves incredibly resourceful when it comes to survival, despite her initial elation at not having to answer to anyone else's demands.  When she finally leave the cottage in an attempt to get home, the reader senses that she truly feels that she has no choice.
Miss Sanders told us that lines never end,
and numbers go on forever.
in short-grass country,
I understand infinity.

-p18, eARC
As someone who has always been a bit leery of novels in verse, I have to say that Ms. Rose was immensely successful in telling her story with this method.  The novel lends itself to quick reading and an easy-to-imagine story.  What really caught my attention is that this would be a fantastic novel to give a young person who struggles with reading.  The words create vivid imagery and tell a compelling story without an overabundance of words.  The simplicity should appeal to struggling readers without making them feel like they're being given an easy book because they can't read well.
If stories were true,
I'd follow a bread-crumb path
all the way home.

But I have no heart for fairy tales

-p90, eARC
May B. is a novel that has the potential to appeal to a vast group of readers. Whether you're looking for something to give to a struggling reader or that young fan of historical fiction, Caroline Starr Rose has created a gem that you'll love to share.


Giselle said...

Oh I didn't know this was written in verse. I'm wary of them too but mostly because I've never read one before and I don't particularly like poetry. This premise is really interesting though. Lovely review!

Xpresso Reads

Donna @ The Happy Booker said...

I love the little snippets you included in your review. What gorgeous writing! I hadn't even considered reading this one but now I may change my mind. Wonderful review! 

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