David Fickling Books, July 2017
Words are influential, able to constructively and destructively affect both the speaker and the audience. Final words feel eerily efficacious; especially when there is absolutely no expectation that they are indeed, last words. Vicious, venomous verbalizations can compound an already catastrophic event. In and of itself, crippling in its cruel randomness; devastating and gut-wrenching when choked with guilt.
A cloud of culpability completely cloaked the sun inside of Eden just as its rays tentatively began to reach out again. Regret remained whenever she recalled begging her bestie, Jess, to walk her to the bus stop in a dismal downpour months ago. Of course, she did not commit the heinous hate-crime, nor could she have stopped it; but that knowledge isn’t enough to alleviate feeling at fault.
Being the best nurse-cheerleader-therapist-buddy that she could be, Eden was instrumental in Jess’s healing and found that she was also helping herself move forward and focus on the important matters. After all, she is a normal teen girl and she did catch the eye of the admittedly adorable Liam that Jess was always talking about.
Liam and Jess, comfortable chums and coffee-shop coworkers, both love Eden with the all-encompassing, unconditional, wholly-heart-felt love of fierce friendship. The bond built from “…looking after Eden all summer.” seems strong enough to support Eden indefinitely, until she disappears. Will their devotion, even when paired with resilient determination and dogged belief, be enough to find Eden?
“She’d gone inside herself, somewhere a long way down, and I didn’t know how to follow.”
Wonderfully woven with stunning, unique, yet complimentary, threads; Eden Summer is a familiar, but fresh fabric. Ms. Flanagan’s finesse in tackling two terrifying topics results in a relatable, engaging read that is as enjoyable as it is significant. Fast-paced with flashbacks filling in details, the story quickly captivates and keeps hold, even after “the end”.
Reviewed by jv poore, June 2017.
Chicken House, March 2016
One of the coolest things about Longbow Girl is that while the events happen in present day, one character lives in an actual castle and another on a working farm; so it feels a bit like it is set in the past. A pretty groovy way of lending an authentic feel to a story entrenched in history.
When an old tomb is inadvertently uncovered, Merry discovers an old book that appears to be one of the tomes from the Middle Welsh collection known as Mabinogion. Although some folks believe whole-heartedly that the narratives are filled with truths, many others insist there are only myths. Either way, there is no argument as to the value of the text. Merry’s find may be the very thing to save the farm that has been the life and heart of her family for more than seven hundred years.
Of course there are challenges with having the artifact authenticated and obstacles in the way of proving it was found on her family’s land. Weighing heavier than the legal red tape is the unshakable feeling that disturbing the grave will exact a higher price than the book could bring. Nothing about this “solution” is sure or easy.
Fortunately, Merry is vibrant, fierce, cunning, and strong. Often, a heroine struggles to come to terms; drum up courage to conquer that which seems insurmountable. Merry does not. It’s not that she’s oblivious. For her, doing the right thing is intuitive. She is aware of the risks and possible loss, personally; but that is of small consequence when compared to the potential greater good for the masses.
Longbow Girl is a spectacular smash-up of Historical Fiction, Action and Adventure, Mystery and Suspense, with a shot of Science Fiction that features heroes, heroines and horses and touches on relatable social issues, family feuds and friendships. And that’s just a few of the things that I dearly loved about it.
Reviewed by jv poore, November 2016.