The Time of the Fireflies
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.