Blue Dust Days

Laura McGrail. Heart to Heart, $14.99 paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-937008-48-2
Trust, unconditional sibling love, and connections between humans and animals are key themes in McGrail’s solid historical novel, set during the Great Depression. Destiny Rose Soames, who is 13 and goes by Dessie, is furious about her alcoholic father’s negligence when a fire breaks out and forces her family of six to lose their home and be indebted to Pap’s boss for help. It’s winter of 1933, and Dessie’s family is trying to survive in the dusty coal-mining town of Whitburn, Ky. Pap selfishly arranges for Lemuel, Dessie’s 15-year-old brother, to quit school and become a coal miner in order to help pay off the family’s debts. Lem’s dream of working with horses appears dashed until Dessie devises a plan for the two of them to run away “on an adventure.” Dessie’s determination and selflessness will draw readers in, as will the resilience and mutual devotion that she and Lemuel display. Endearing if somewhat predictable, the novel is best suited for readers who love animal stories or enjoy rooting for the good guys to prevail against the odds. Ages 8–12. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 06/19/2017
Genre: Children's
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