cover image My Own Lightning

My Own Lightning

Lauren Wolk. Dutton, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-525-55559-9

Set in 1944, one year after her Newbery Honor–winning Wolf Hollow, in the same rural Pennsylvania community, Wolk crafts an exceptional sequel that both builds on the complexity of the previous installment and also stands on its own merit. After lightning strikes Annabelle in a sudden storm, and a “mystery hero” with rough hands restarts her heart, she suddenly becomes attuned to sensory input and the feelings of animals, including the injured and maltreated dogs nurtured by fellow hollow dweller Nora. Subsequently unraveling the truth behind canine cruelty in her community, Annabelle repeatedly encounters known bully Andy Woodberry, whose cruel actions previously led to tragedy. The narrative grapples with nuances and contradictions as Annabelle first resents Andy for the trauma he once caused, then weighs other factors, including his kind actions with animals, in reevaluating his character and motivations. With a memorable heroine, a finely honed voice, a distinctive setting, and deeply grounded relationships, this thought-provoking novel raises ethical issues about personal flaws and forgiveness. Ages 10–up. (May)