Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Middle Grade Review: Gingersnap, by Patricia Reilly Giff


Title: Gingersnap
Author: Patricia Reilly Giff; read by Olivia Campbell
Publisher: Listening Library, 2013. Originally by Wendy Lamb Books, 2013, 160 pages
Source: Library (digital download)

In 1944, 10-year-old Jayna is living with her 18-year-old brother at last, after years of the orphans being separated in foster homes. But when Rob is called up for military service, Jayna is left uncomfortably with a landlady who doesn't really want a child. When Rob is reported missing in action, he shows her a book and a picture, and tells her they may have a grandmother in Brooklyn. When things get bad, Jayna sets off with her pet turtle and a mysterious ghostly voice to find that grandmother.

I'm a big fan of children's historical fiction, and Patricia Reilly Giff does a good job with the genre. The story is moving, and doesn't drag. I could do without the ghost (which might be dismissed as a psychological aberration, but it's not easy); mystical stuff doesn't do much for me. But aside from that, the book is a quickly-moving, sweet story, with an ending probably too good to be true, but presented well enough to satisfy.

The reader does a very good job, and there are no technical issues to get between the listener and the story.

This one might be better for the kids than the adults. There is plenty of suspense, but nothing very terrible happens in the book, and it can introduce the time and place to younger readers. I'd recommend from age 8 up.
Full Disclosure: I checked Gingersnap out of my library, and received nothing from the writer or publisher in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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