Thursday, August 02, 2018

Family Tree

Family Tree. Katherine Ayres. 1996. 176 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: I sat in the backseat of the bus and looked out.

Premise/plot: Tyler Stoudt begins her sixth grade family tree project reluctantly. She is a miracle baby; she was delivered thirty minutes after her mother's death. Her only family is her loving father, Jakob Stoudt. She knows nothing of his family or her mother's family--not until she begins the project and her father slowly but surely starts to open up a little about his past. Can she piece together the clues from her father's stories and her mother's writing? (Her mother was an author.)

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one very much. Tyler Stoudt discovers that her father was an Amish man who married an Englisher. She had come to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to research a book on Amish wedding traditions. The two became friendly since it is Jakob's sister who is the bride she's writing about. After that first book is published she returns to the community to write a second book: this time on woodworking--Jakob is the subject! After the two marry, Jakob is shunned by his family, and Sarah (Tyler's mother) is rejected by hers as well.

Family Tree is a satisfying read about making peace with the past and healing. I really enjoyed getting to know Tyler and her father.

I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed reading this one as a child. Readers find out very early on that Tyler's mother died. I may have put the book down right then and there and not given it a fair chance. That's the kind of reader I was as a kid. Anything that even hinted at potential sads was put aside. I have matured as a reader, thank goodness!

© 2018 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.

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