White Pine Book #3! For now, this will be the book that I'll be rooting for during the voting period. In my opinion, this book needs way more recognition. I've gone back to my formal/serious review style, haha! Nevertheless, I hope, dear reader, that you'll take some time to read this honest and heart-felt review, and consider checking this book out!
Author: Donalda Reid
Publication: 2010, Second Story Press
Summary: To Ellen Manery, a brilliant, introverted, socially isolated fifteen-year-old, there is nothing good about the summer of 1967, especially when her parents decide to move to a small town in the interior of British Columbia. All the big ideas of the 1960s--the civil rights movement, the sexual revolution, women's rights--have not had much of an effect on this small community. Ellen has always been more interested in studying than a social life, but that begins to change when she meets Tony Paul, an eighteen-year-old who belongs to the Shuswap Indians and lives on the nearby reserve. When school starts it is Tony's friendship that gives Ellen the strength to endure the loneliness, racism, discrimination, and antifeminism she must face during her last year in high school. As Tony and Ellen's friendship turns into something deeper, they must decide if they can break free of society's rules and forge their own future....Goodreads
Review: Ms. Reid's first book is one of an absolutely wonderful, bittersweet taste. The gorgeous phrasing and the picturesque descriptiveness of this novel brings an incredibly down-to-earth, yet heart-wrenchingly soulful tale. Although Ellen may seem unattractive at first glimpse, she gracefully unfolds into the stunning silhouette of a full-grown butterfly by the last page. Created with love, determination, and compelling courage, this seemingly simple female protagonist is far from simple, and she will unexpectedly win over your heart to an amazing extent.
Along Ellen's side, Tony is an equally established and impressive character, adding vibrant and realistic tones to the Aboriginal portion of the painting. Ms. Reid lets words soar and dance to portray reflective and touching images of a tasteful and particularly emotional story that will take readers on a time-travel back to another time in Canada's rich history.
Invoking strong themes including racism, discrimination, and inequality, this novel holds many heavy stones together, surrounded by a shimmering and sophisticated ribbon of a nostalgically familiar plot outline. Dashed with charming brushes of life as a teenager, "The Way It Is" will hit many a right note and nuance. Ms. Reid's delicate and intricate prose, combined with a tugging and throbbing young romance will bring tears to the reader's eyes and ultimately sway one's emotions due to the grown and undying affection one would feel for the characters of this praise-worthy first novel.
Rating: ✿✿✿✿ 4 Blossoms
Final Notes: This book made me cry at the very end. It wasn't a few sniffs; I sobbed. I remember a point when I was crying, when I stopped for a moment to reflect on what I was feeling. My heart sincerely ached for the characters, and that is why I feel so strongly about this book. I'd like to say, "Now, THIS is a BOOK!" and I really, truly hope that the award goes to this book.
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