Thursday, March 06, 2014

Afternoon of the Elves (1989)

Afternoon of the Elves. Janet Taylor Lisle. 1989. Scholastic. 128 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I enjoyed reading Afternoon of the Elves. At its heart, the novel is simply about an unlikely friendship, and how that friendship impacts the two girls. Sara-Kate is the oldest of the girls. She does not have any friends at school. She is not exactly invisible, but, her real self is not seen by anyone. If Sara-Kate were successfully invisible at school, perhaps the girls would not go to so much trouble to talk about her all the time, to tell of scandalous doings, to share every rumor, perhaps to invent every rumor. They are noticing Sara-Kate for all the wrong reasons: she doesn't look like me, she doesn't dress like me, she doesn't act like me, she doesn't talk like me. Hillary, the youngest girl, is Sara-Kate's neighbor. Sara-Kate has NEVER to anyone's knowledge invited another girl to play with her. But she does invite Hillary into her backyard. She shows her an elf-village. Hillary isn't exactly sure that elves are real, that they do in fact live in a village in her neighbor's backyard. But the "proof" of such a village does exist. And together these two girls meet almost daily through the fall. They keep it to the yard. They keep the subjects limited. No probing questions on subjects Sara-Kate would rather avoid. But. Hillary, eventually, comes to realize that some of the rumors she thought were mere lies had some basis in truth.

The book is interesting. Sara-Kate is mysterious: veiling her darkest truths but at the same time showing glimpses here and there that do hint at her desperate need to be seen and loved and helped. Hillary is observant enough to know that Sara-Kate likes to have control, that she hates to be vulnerable. She comes to think of her friend as an elf, having all the elf qualities that she learns about from Sara-Kate. Hillary does make decisions. She decides to NOT listen to her friends. She chooses to befriend Sara-Kate even though no one else likes her. She does decide to go over to her friend's house every day despite the fact that her mother does not approve. She decides that her mother just doesn't know Sara-Kate, and that her mother is wrong to think the worst of Sara-Kate and her mother. She decides to steal money from her mother's purse to help Sara-Kate when she realizes that her friend has no food in the house. Hillary never has to make the hardest decision. She never has to make the ultimate choice of keeping her friend's secret no matter what, or, telling her mom. I'm not sure what Hillary would have decided.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Kailana 11:20 AM  

I read this when I was younger and still have my old copy kicking around somewhere. :)

Suko 1:36 PM  

Stories about unlikely friendships are often quite touching. Thanks for a great review, Becky.

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

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.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

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.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP