A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
A Northern Light is the story of Matt Gokey, a bookish girl growing up in the North Woods in 1907. She has a hard life taking care of her Pa and siblings after the death of her mother as well as being one of two kids in school to get a high school diploma. Her interests are more scholarly than farm oriented and she has a difficult time deciding what she wants- college and the chance to become a better writer or a wife to the handsome son of her neighbors who unexpectedly shows interest in her.
It took me awhile to get used to the jumping back and forth between past and present. I feel the story would have worked just fine if the events took place chronologically. Also, there is a lot going on in this one. One part of the story is about Matt and her struggles with family, boys and getting to college, the other is the mystery of a young women's death. Both stories are interesting but I would have liked them separated if only to learn more about Grace and her life before ending up dead.
The choices Matt makes are what moves the story along. Some of her choices, though, drove me crazy and made me want to give up on the book entirely. I am glad I didn't because in the end I really enjoyed her story. I especially loved the word of the day starting each chapter and her word duels with Weaver. What a great idea! I may have to start this with the hubby.