Thursday, December 13, 2012

With a Name Like Love - Tess Hilmo

When Ollie’s daddy, the Reverend Everlasting Love, pulls their travel trailer into Binder, Arkansas, to lead a three-day revival, Ollie knows that this town will be like all the others her daddy drags them through—it is exactly the kind of thing Ollie has come to expect. But on their first day, Ollie meets Jimmy Koppel, whose mother is in jail for murdering his father. Jimmy insists that his mother is innocent and Ollie believes him. Still, even if Ollie convinces her daddy to break his three-day rule and stay longer, how can two thirteen-year-olds free a woman who has signed a confession?

Ollie’s longing for a friend and her daddy’s penchant for searching out lost souls prove to be a formidable force in this tiny community, where everyone seems bent of judging and jailing without a trial.

Winner of two Whitney Awards, and a finalist for the Utah Beehive Award, With a Name Like Love has already proven itself to be a winner among adult readers, and children will appreciate the honest look at how far one must go when they have faith in a friend.

Part mystery, part realistic fiction, the novel, which is appropriate for middle readers and young adults, is an excellent demonstration of giving characters a unique and compelling voice. Hilmo’s word choice adds flavor to both the character of a traveling preacher and his family and the people of Arkansas. As Ollie works to solve the mystery that surrounds the murder of Jimmy’s father, and the supposed-confession of his mother, readers can apply supporting details to solve the case on their own, keeping in line with the Common Core Standards.

Reminiscent of Carl Lynch William’s Christmas in Heaven in theme and story, the two novels discussed together would prove an excellent source for the investigation of voice.

Highly Recommend.

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