I’ve been blindly pulling books out of my stash from the Scholastic Warehouse Sale (no peeking to see what’s next!), so I was especially delighted when I came out with Kimberley Griffiths Little’s THE TIME OF THE FIREFLIES. You see, most of my warehouse sale finds are books that either look interesting to me or that I’ve heard about through the grapevine. This was one of only two books I picked up this year by an author I’d already read. And if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know I’m a fan of Kimberley’s books :). Now that I have read it, I’m wondering why I didn’t make it a priority sooner because it quickly became my favorite middle grade of hers so far. But on to the description …
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.
And here are the five things I loved most:
1. The voice – Praising the voice isn’t a new compliment for the series, but it’s worth repeating because it jumps off the page from the opening paragraph.
“The second day of summer was a flapjack-and-bacon morning with enough sweet cane syrup to make your teeth ache. A glorious, heavenly day when you got no more homework due to for three whole months.”
2. The time travel – This might be why THE TIME OF THE FIREFLIES is now my favorite of these books–because I have a soft spot for time travel. However, it’s done in a unique way here, giving Larissa a glimpse of her family’s tragic past, with clues that play into the mystery that affect their current circumstances. It’s very well done.
3. The theme of understanding – In WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME, we saw a story from the view of one of the “mean” girls, and this theme of understanding that there are two sides to every story continues in THE TIME OF THE FIREFLIES. Not only does Larissa have to come to grips with her view of Alyson Granger, a girl she considers to be her enemy, she also has to shift her own attitude. I really loved seeing this growth. This passage stood out to me:
“I’d never said hateful words like that to anyone before. I wanted to hurt Alyson, but I never expected her to look so shocked. Upset, even. Words might hurt for a few minutes, but what they’d done to me what a thousand times worse.”
4. The mystery – Obviously I can’t read one of Kimberley’s books without talking about the mystery. I loved this one. Admittedly, I figured it out pretty early on, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable experiencing Larissa’s discovery. In fact, I was even more tense waiting for her to catch up. But hey, she hasn’t read the other books, so she doesn’t know all that backstory :).
5. The stakes – I mentioned the tension in regard to the mystery, but Kimberley’s pretty tough on Larissa. She stands to lose a lot if she doesn’t succeed, and she has to resolve some sticky emotional issues, too. It’s not the lighthearted read the cover may imply, but it’s sooo good.
Unfortunately, this will not be one of those Scholastic Warehouse Sale finds I give away as I’ll be adding this book to my Kimberley Griffiths Little collection. Have you read it yet? What did you think?
This one has been buried on my TBR list for so long that I forgot it was there. With your insightful review I have moved it to the top and will search out a copy this week. Thanks for the nudge.
This. Book. Is. Awesome! I’m glad you liked it too! I *LOVE* Kimberly Griffiths Little too–although her LOOONG name is a pain to type. 🙂 Just wanted to say that I did a review on this book last week–doesn’t that make us automatically best friends?! 🙂
Ha! Absolutely :).
Cindy, wow, thank you for all the love over FIREFLIES!! I’m thrilled to know how much you loved the book. I was leaving a comment below to Michelle and saw yours here so couldn’t help responding. (Sorry for the long name! Ha, ha, I know it’s long but I use my maiden name, Griffiths, for several reasons. *smile*).
Michelle, you made my cry a little bit with your review! Thank you SO very much. I’m thrilled that you loved the book. Thank you for such a lovely and thoughtful review, it’s such a treat to hear about your reading experience. 🙂
You’re welcome! I always appreciate you stopping by the blog, and your books are such a delight, so it’s a pleasure to highlight them here. I look forward to the next one!
This one is on my TBR list, too. I need to find the copy I own and read it. It sounds wonderful. Thank you!
I’ve been hearing great things about this one. It sounds so unique! I am also a sucker for a strong voice, so you had me there.
Hope you enjoy it!
This book sounds amazing! Definitely going on my TBR list. The cover had me at first sight and I can’t get enough of time travel, not to mention that passage sounded amazing. This should be an awesome read!
Yes, I love the cover, too!
I sooooo want to read this book. I have been trying to find time for a while. I still have a stack of books for review, but I think I might be able to get to it soon. It just sounds so darned good! Thanks for the reminder.
I read and reviewed this book a few months ago. What stood out for me about the book was the strong sense of place the story has, taking place as is does in a Louisiana bayou. However, I found the story a tad predictable.
Yes, the setting is very well drawn. This is the fourth, I think, in this setting. I can see what you mean about predictability as I could see where it was going, but I’m not sure the average MG reader would. I always wonder about that :). Thanks for stopping by!