Friday, June 01, 2007
Luddy, Karon. 2007. S-P-E-L-L-D-O-W-N: The Big-Time Dreams of A Small-Town Word Whiz.
Set in 1969, Spelldown is the story of one girl's dreams to escape her mundane (and at times unhappy) homelife. Karlene Bridges is thirteen years old. Since her older sister married, she's the oldest one of the family. The one who is supposed to be responsible for her deliquent kid brothers. With her father drinking, and her mother working overtime, it seems there is nothing at home to get excited about. The only thing that makes her happy--that gives her purpose--is studying for the school spelling bee. With a new teacher, Mrs. Harrison, along with determination and hardwork, Karlene's dreams may finally begin to be within reach.
In some ways, Spelldown is your typical story of an eighth grade girl. Karlene can be awkward, gawky, nerdy, and she definitely has a hard time fitting in among her peers. (How many 13 year old girls study the dictionary 'just for fun' in their free time?) She's only beginning to realize who she is...and what she wants. And spelling is helping her in more ways than one. Can being a spelling champion translate into higher self-esteem and confidence all-around?