Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Lions of Little Rock (MG)

The Lions of Little Rock. Kristin Levine. 2012. Penguin. 304 pages.

I talk a lot. Just not out loud where anyone can hear. At least I used to be that way. I'm no chatterbox now, but if you stop me on the street and ask me directions to the zoo, I'll answer you. Probably. If you're nice, I might even tell you a couple of different ways to get there. 

I loved, loved, loved Kristin Levine's The Lions of Little Rock. Since I had also LOVED The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had, I knew to expect great things from her, and I was not disappointed. I'm not sure which of the two is my favorite, favorite. I loved both books so much. All I can say is that I definitely want to reread them both!

I LOVED both Marlee and Liz. Marlee is a heroine that I found so easy to love. She's so shy, so wonderfully smart but painfully shy. So shy that her family--who loves and supports her--challenges her (in a good way) to speak five or six words a day. In the beginning, she's so reliant on her older sister, but through the novel, she becomes more confident and brave. But above all, she becomes more thoughtful. She takes time to think and consider, for the most part, what is right, what is true, over and above what is easy and what is comfortable.

Liz is a new girl who becomes Marlee's very first true best friend, but their friendship will soon be tested in Little Rock, Arkansas in the school year of 1958/1959...

I do enjoy historical fiction. I found the setting of this one to be so very fascinating. It is set one year after the Little Rock Nine, and readers learn about the year that public high schools were officially closed in order to avoid integration. It is simply a fascinating, compelling novel. I just couldn't put it down.

I did love the characters, and not just the main character(s). Readers get a chance to get to know all the people in Marlee's life, her mother and father, her older sister and brother, a few teachers, even a Sunday School teacher, I believe, the family's new maid, her classmates, her friends, those that bully her, etc. So many glimpses of people that felt so genuine.

I also LOVED the writing. I just LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it from start to finish. So lovely, it just has a "just right" feel to it.


Read The Lions of Little Rock
  • If you love GREAT children's books, if you want to read one of the best books of the year
  • If you love coming of age stories 
  • If you like strong friendship stories
  • If you enjoy historical fiction, this one is set in Little Rock, Arkansas, late 1950s
  • If you like novels with complex characters
  • If you are looking for a heroine who LOVES math  
© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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