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?