The Time of the Fireflies

The Time of the Fireflies
Age Range
Release Date
July 29, 2014
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When Larissa Renaud starts receiving eerie phone calls on a disconnected old phone in her family's antique shop, she knows she's in for a strange summer. A series of clues leads her to the muddy river banks, where clouds of fireflies dance among the cypress knees and cattails each evening at twilight. The fireflies are beautiful and mysterious, and they take her on a magical journey through time, where Larissa learns secrets about her family's tragic past -- deadly, curse-ridden secrets that could harm the future of her family as she knows it. It soon becomes clear that it is up to Larissa to prevent history from repeating itself and a fatal tragedy from striking the people she loves. With her signature lyricism, Kimberley Griffiths Little weaves a thrilling tale filled with family secrets, haunting mystery, and dangerous adventure.

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1 review
Sometimes the Past is the Key to our Future
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Plot/Characters/Writing Style
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In The Time of the Fireflies, twelve-year-old Larissa Renaud immediately reveals her chaotic family life and her inner turmoil as a result by showing us her home (an old antique store), her worried and pregnant mother, and the deep scar that lines her face, a symbol of the bad luck her mother's family has had for generations. The event that gave her that scar has left its mark on her identity and struck a nerve with her mother, who cannot seem to stop moving to try to escape her past. It's when Larissa gets a phone call on a disconnected antique phone that she begins to piece together her family's past and link it to the line etched across her face.

I was quickly engaged with Kimberley Little's writing style, and swept up by her world building of the South, as she painted pictures of the bayou, the heat, the cypress trees, and yes, the swirling, blinking, and beautiful fireflies that transport Larissa through time. Character-wise, Larissa, her mother, her father, and even her arch-enemy, soon planted themselves firmly in this story, and the relationships that change throughout it are solid and driven by love and truth in a way that captured my heart. There is no telling what good an author does when she encourages a young reader to look past first impressions and quick judgments to find what's beneath a person's outward facade. These lessons can become part of a growing person's beliefs about people and the world, and I have to say that is my favorite aspect of this book.

The plot line kept me turning the pages, excited always to see what was around the next bend for Larissa, what clue to the puzzle she needed to solve would be revealed, and wondering if she would solve them all in time. The plot also serves to hopefully ignite a curiosity about one's own family tree and history, and a passion to care about one's forefathers and mothers and the impact their lives and choices have on generations to come. So many important concepts woven in such an interesting book made The Time of the Fireflies one of the best middle grade books I've read all year long.
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