Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Into the vale of years

Because I really liked Sharon Creech's Replay, I reserved a few of her other books at the library. One of the things I liked about Replay was Creech's ability to capture the voice, demeanor, and language of an adolescent so well.

The Unfinished Angel was similarly intriguing in its linguistic voice: the main character is an angel who guards a tiny village in Italy, and who struggles with speaking and understanding human ways of communication.  That was the most interesting part of the short book, however; I wasn't as captivated by the plot itself, about a little girl who can see the angel and convinces it to help change things for children nearby.

Walk Two Moons, however, was simply a masterpiece. It's no wonder that it won the Newbery Medal. The storytelling mechanism was brilliant: a girl on a road trip with her grandparents helps pass the time by telling them stories of her best friend's weird family. The stories are true, but the grandparents know they're just a metaphor for the girl's own growing pains and unique family heartache.

Even though, from an adult perspective, the ending isn't a surprise at all (it was pretty easy to read between the lines), I still found myself crying as I read the last few chapters. It was such a beautiful, sweet, tragic tale of love and hope and family ties.

As young adult authors go, I like Sharon Creech because her writing style also appeals to adults. The plots of her books (at least three I've read so far) take place at the very real intergenerational crossroads of family life.

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