I was misled by the cover of this book. Fireflies are magical bugs (isn’t it weird to call them bugs?), and I expected to be transported by the magic of this story, The Time of the Fireflies, Kimberly Griffiths Little, (2014, 356 pages). I expected too much.
Summary from Goodreads:
Critically acclaimed author Kimberley Griffiths Little spins a thrilling story of one girl’s race to unravel the curse that has haunted her family for generations.
When Larissa Renaud starts receiving eerie phone calls on a disconnected old phone in her family’s antique shop, she knows she’s in for a strange summer. A series of clues leads her to the muddy river banks, where clouds of fireflies dance among the cypress knees and cattails each evening at twilight. The fireflies are beautiful and mysterious, and they take her on a magical journey through time, where Larissa learns secrets about her family’s tragic past–deadly, curse-ridden secrets that could harm the future of her family as she knows it. It soon becomes clear that it is up to Larissa to prevent history from repeating itself and a fatal tragedy from striking the people she loves.
With her signature lyricism, Kimberley Griffiths Little weaves a thrilling tale filled with family secrets, haunting mystery, and dangerous adventure
1.The book gets off on the right foot when Larissa gets a phone call on an old phone that is not even plugged into the wall. Creepy and cool.
2.The time travel has Larissa walking over a river bridge that in her own time has fallen down in the middle, but is intact in 1912. The stakes are high. If the time travel magic fails, she will fall into the rusty maw of the broken bridge and probably die.
3. I love a book with a strong sense of place and this one has it, a swampy Louisiana bayou place.
1. The story was predictable, so much so that I began to feel Larissa was a little slow on the uptake. However, I don’t think predictable is the worst adjective to apply to a middle grade novel, as I can recall reading a ton of books in my youth that were basically variants of one another, and I devoured them all. Because after a certain point I felt like I knew what was going to happen in this story, I put the book down and was not excited about picking it up again.
2. This is a big one: I was disappointed by the doll. The author’s description did not make it come alive for me. I couldn’t really visualize it. I wanted to get goosebumps as I did from books by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (Headless Cupid, anyone?), but that didn’t happen.
3. While Larissa was a great character, I found some of the supporting characters a little too saintly to be believable.
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Oh, and there’s this: My list of time travel books in which Toys Come Alive (!)
Author website here.
Links to about 20-some Marvelous Middle Grade Monday book reviews at the blog of the inimitable Shannon Messenger.