Review of My Own Lightning

My Own Lightning My Own Lightning
by Lauren Wolk
Intermediate, Middle School    Dutton    320 pp.   g
5/22    978-0-525-55559-9    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-0-525-55560-5    $10.99

This sequel to Newbery Honor Book Wolf Hollow (rev. 7/16) starts with a bang as ­protagonist Annabelle McBride is hit by lightning during a summer storm. That event leaves her in a state she describes as “senses wide open.” In addition to gaining ­hypersensitivity to smells, sounds, and touch, Annabelle finds herself able to “read” the feelings of animals. However, the story never tips over into the paranormal, staying firmly grounded in concrete details of 1940s ­Pennsylvania farm life. The lightning strike ignites a series of four related mysteries. Who was the Good Samaritan who saved Annabelle’s life by administering CPR and then ­disappeared? What’s in the Edelmans’ barn? Is that urbane stranger in town up to no good? And what has happened to Buster, the family dog? Common to all these threads is Annabelle’s shifting relationship with Andy Woodberry, the hateful bully of the original book. This is historical fiction for middle-grade readers who ­relish a warm family story with an energetic plot; a ­character who comes into her own; and a fully ­realized, sensory-rich ­setting (including delicious descriptions of farm meals).

From the July/August 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Sarah Ellis
Sarah Ellis is a Vancouver-based writer and critic, recently retired from the faculty of The Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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