If you are looking for book recommendations you have come to the right place! I read a lot and rely on book reviews and posts like this one to find books to read. So, let me help you find books you will love!
I keep a book list by title and I also have a book journal. Sometimes I write my opinion and a brief summary of books I read. But, only the really good ones that I actually finish and don’t skim the last 75 pages.
And, I only recommend the ones that I truly love and think you will, too! These are all five star reads for me!
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Have you read this? You should! I bought it because it was compared to The Help which I loved.
This book is similar. It’s a story set in the 1830’s about a family that owns slaves. The chapters alternate between telling the story of Sarah and her personal slave, Hetty.
It is heartbreaking and beautifully written. It’s a long book- 400+ pages, but a fast read. You will find yourself re-reading parts just for the beauty of the words.
On her 11th birthday Sarah is given ownership of a ten-year-old named Handful. It is the early 19th century in Charleston and the story follows these two girls turn grow into womanhood together. The book is a blend of fact and fiction and a depiction of the atrocities of slavery that we do not learn in history books in school.
It begins on the playground when two young students have an innocent encounter which turns into an accusation of choking. Jane, a new resident of the town has a son named Ziggy and he is accused of choking Renata’s daughter. Of course, her friends, Madeline and Celeste must defend her and take her side against Jane.
We also learn the backstories of the four women.
Madeline has three kids, including Abigail, a fourteen-year-old from a previous marriage. The husband left her but has returned to the town with a new wife. And, of course, Abigail loves Bonnie (the new wife) and wants to spend all her time with Madeline’s ex. Madeline is hurt, but also always angry.
Jane got pregnant at the age of 19, when she had a one-night stand. The man, Saxon Banks, abused her. She wonders if the son has inherited violent tendencies like his father and maybe he did choke someone.
Celeste’s life seems perfect, but it’s actually a nightmare. Her husband Perry is abusive. The beatings are frequent, violent, and terrifying. Celeste hesitates to do anything because of twin sons.
The drama all comes to a head when the school has a trivia night and you will have to read this one to find out it all ends!
Yes, this is a children’s novel, but I promise you will love this book so much. You will not be able to get to the end of it without laughing out loud multiple times and you will definitely cry.
I know you have heard of Where the Red Fern Grows. If not, you should also read that book.
This book was written by the same author. He only wrote two books in his lifetime and both are based on his boyhood adventures. This story is about the life of a family living in the Ozark mountains near the end of the the 1800s.
The 14-year-old main character is involved with trying to catch about 30 monkeys that escaped from a circus. There is a big reward for catching the monkeys and Jay Berry sets out with his dog, Rowdy, to get them. Their adventures are purely hilarious! I read this book aloud to so many classes and we always rolled in the floor laughing at the things those monkeys did.
Our favorite chapter was the one where Jay Berry and Rowdy discover the monkeys drinking sour mash at an old whiskey still back in the woods. After Jay Berry and Rowdy both drink a little too much, the boy awakens to find the monkeys have stolen his pants!
There is also a very sweet side story about Jay Berry’s sister. She needs an expensive surgical procedure. I promise you, cross my heart, you will sob all the way through the ending of this book. Read it!
By the way, I own a copy of a video showing a presentation that Wilson Rawls did in an elementary classroom. He talked quite a bit about his boyhood and how he came to be a writer. He grew up very poor and didn’t have writing paper so they wrote on the backs of envelopes. When he went away as a young man to work in Mexico he wrote on paper sacks and envelopes and rolled the writings into tubes. He saved them for years and one day just threw all those stories away. After getting married his wife encouraged him to write again and she actually edited his work. His is the voice you hear on the original Red Fern movie. When that movie was being produced he was asked to be a consultant and be the narrator. His two books are just priceless!
Which one will you read first? Try them all.
You might also enjoy these books!
My rating system: 5 stars means perfection- the book was written well, held my attention, and I did not want it to end. 4 stars- the book was really good, but I had questions or concerns about parts of it. This might include the way it ended. 3 stars- the book was okay, but I just didn’t like it much. 2 stars- I skimmed most of it. 1 star- I could not finish it.