After reading _A Cool Moonlight_ by Ms. Johnson I was eager to read more of her younger reader titles. In Heaven, we meet Marley. Marley lives with two loving parents and her brother, Butchy. There's never been any real drama in her life in Heaven, a small town that lives up to its name. Then one day, a letter from Alabama changes her life forever. Marley is devastated and angry. She feels betrayed. But her friend Bobby (a character from another Johnson novel, _First Part Last_) reminds Marley what hasn't changed: her family loves her and she has friends who support her. He says it must be really hard to hate people you've loved your whole life.
The revelation about who she is a big adjustment. Through a combination of fragments of her past shared in Jack's letters, memories and her mother's personal items, Marley processes the news of who her real parents are in her time in her own way. The intimacy of Jack's letters to Marley and the immediacy of the present tense translates the emotion and conflict here in a particularly effective way. This novel is geared towards older elementary, early middle schoolers. While the issues are complex, the reader isn't overwhelmed by the themes. An endearing story about love, family, adoption and identity. I highly recommend it. I'm looking forward to sharing it with our community of readers.
Simple and sweet, this novel is a quick read about a girl who learns that her parents have been keeping a secret from her that will change her view of everything. The novel alternates between the main character's first-person narration and her Uncle Jack's letters, which have been a staple in her life since she can remember. Interesting characters, but the denoument is swift. A few mysteries are left unplumbed.
This was a refreshing read. The language was so rich and vivid but still concise. I read this on a plane during heavy winds, so there was lots of turbulence, and I barely noticed because I was so engrossed in the book.
Marley has lived in Heaven since she was two yrs. old, when her mother found a postcard postmarked HEAVEN, OH on a park bench and decided that was where she wanted to raise her family.
Ane for twelve yrs. , Marley's hometown has lived up to its name. She lives in a house by the river, has loving parents, a funny younger brother, good friends, and receives frequent letters from her mysterious Uncle Jack. Then one day a letter arrives from Alabama, and Marley's life is turned upside down. Marley doesn't even know who she is anymore - but where can she go for answers, when she's been deceived by the very people she should be able to trust the most?
Non-violent social change - Coretta Scott King Award