I just finished writing a review of a teen fiction book I really enjoyed–In Search of Mockingbird by Loretta Ellsworth (Henry Holt, April 2007, ISBN-10: 0805072365).
Sixteen-year-old Erin’s mother is dead, and one of her only connections to her mother is a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird that her mother scribbled notes in, and a letter that she wrote to Harper Lee, the reclusive author of the book. Erin is desperate for connection and answers, and finally, after a fight with her father, she heads out on a bus to find Harper Lee, and, she hopes, some answers.
In Search of Mockingbird is an uplifting, enjoyable read about a strong girl protagonist. What makes this book especially uplifting is that throughout the story, strangers on the bus help Erin and encourage her in different ways to reach her goal. So many people end up supporting her, and this is moving and encouraging, and gives the reader the sense that the world isn’t a bad place, that there are a lot of good people in the world, and that people can reach out and help others. This brings a lightness to the story, to what could otherwise be a painful read.
Erin does not just passively accept help; she herself helps the key people who help her, helping them resolve their own emotional issues in a satisfying, real way. This serves to balance Erin and her situation out, and to make her more likable. However, Erin’s own resolution of her emotional issues did not feel believable to me, and this was a little disappointing.
There is a lightness to this book, even with the themes. Erin’s pain and the death of her mother is not focused on in great depth; instead, the focus is on the search, and what happens along the way, all the human connections that are made. . . .
Intrigued? I hope so. 🙂
You can read the whole review here.