Monday, June 9, 2014

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: One Came Home

I listened to the audiobook version of One Came Home during some long car rides, and it was a perfect choice. Listening gave me a chance to really appreciate the distinctive voice for the narrator that the author created using specific words and phrases (notice I don’t mean the sound of the voice of the woman who read the story).  

Today’s Pick:  One Came Home

by Amy Timberlake

Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2013

From Random House:

In the town of Placid, Wisconsin, in 1871, Georgie Burkhardt is known for two things: her uncanny aim with a rifle and her habit of speaking her mind plainly.

But when Georgie blurts out something she shouldn't, her older sister Agatha flees, running off with a pack of "pigeoners" trailing the passenger pigeon migration. And when the sheriff returns to town with an unidentifiable body—wearing Agatha's blue-green ball gown—everyone assumes the worst. Except Georgie. Refusing to believe the facts that are laid down (and coffined) before her, Georgie sets out on a journey to find her sister. She will track every last clue and shred of evidence to bring Agatha home. 

Yet even with resolute determination and her trusty Springfield single-shot, Georgie is not prepared for what she faces on the western frontier.

My Take:

I liked the mystery of Georgie trying to find out what happened to her sister, and that’s what kept me listening. It took me a little while to get into the story, since the main character and narrator Georgie seemed to get sidetracked with reminiscing. I think upper middle graders will easily relate to some of the themes in the story, like Georgie feeling responsible for her sister’s death, having a crush on a boy, and stubbornly trying to solve problems without help. It was also fun to read a “wild west” novel and learn a bit about life in the 1870’s.

If you are interested in learning more about creating a character with a strong voice, this is a good novel to read. I loved Geogie’s style and her vocabulary!

Opening Line:

“So it comes to this, I remember thinking on Wednesday June 7, 1871.”

Other Info:

Amy Timberlake lives in Chicago with her husband. Besides writing, she loves cooking and taking photos.

One Came Home is a Newbery Honor Book, an ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book and a Winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Juvenile Novel.

Other books by this author:

That Girl Lucy Moon
The Dirty Cowboy (picture book)

For more, visit Amy Timberlake’s website.

Looking for more Marvelous Middle Grade Monday books? Visit Shannon Messenger’s blog for a list of bloggers reviewing great books today! Shannon is the founder of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday and the author of the middle grade novels, Keeper of the Lost Cities and Exile (Keeper of the Lost Cities #2).


  1. I think I'd like this one. The cover has some mysterious pull, too. Thanks for featuring a title I may have missed.

  2. I liked the mystery of this one too, although it's Georgie's growth that struck me most at the end.

  3. I love audio books. I may have to check this out.

  4. Since I really enjoyed THAT GIRL LUCY MOON, I'm sure I'd like this too. A strong voice is so important.

  5. This one does sound good and I hadn't heard of it. Thanks for telling me about it. I think I will check this out.

  6. You have me intrigued! I really enjoy the occasional historical, but do better if they've got a mystery or something of that ilk going on, so this sounds perfect. Thanks for the recommend, and happy MMGM!

  7. I loved the opening line and the mystery of what happened to her sister. And pigeoners! I'm not usually one for westerns--but this sounds intriguing!


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