Let me tell you something way-super-awesomely cool. I have a neighbor who is a real live author. Whoa, right? (Okay, so you probably all know real live authors too, but I still think it’s the coolest thing ever!)
Well, back to my neighbor. She just had her first book published. And I by just, I mean a little over a month ago.
I just read it. And I loved it.
First of all, it’s called With a Name Like Love and was written by Tess Hilmo.
With a Name Like Love is the story of a traveling preacher’s family that stops for a revival in Binder, Alabama. While they are there, Ollie (the protagonist of the story) meets an adorable boy and develops a crush on him. But hey—guess what? His mom’s in jail for killing his dad. Only—she didn’t really do it. So who did?
Can the Love family help Jimmy and his mom in this town that seems to be full of hate, while working out the issues that come with being a family?
It’s a beautiful tale about family, friendship, and love.
Sounds great right? (Also, it’s not as cheesy as that quick re-cap make it sounds. I’m just not so great at re-caps yet.)
But seriously, I loved this book. It’s a historical fiction novel, written for older kids (10-15, I’d guess).
Tess has a way with words that is absolutely phenomenal. Want an example?
“It was a perfect orchard of friends.” –page 55, talking about Jimmy’s frogs.
“Perfect squares of farmland marked out the earth like God’s own crossword puzzle.”-page 125.
And there are about a billion other beautiful examples. The language used throughout the book is what helps keep the theme of the book; without it , the story could be dark, and depressing (It’s about Murder—for pete’s sake!), but it’s not. It’s so hopeful.
If you don’t think I’m enough a critic, here’s a bigwig review from Kirkus. (Kirkus gave it a starred review. That’s a huge deal, in case you were wondering.
“Hilmo creates a family, a town and a mystery readers won’t soon forget.
In July of 1957, the Love family rolls into the tiny town of Binder, Ark. Reverend Everlasting Love, his wife Susanna and their daughters Olivene (called Ollie), Martha, Gwen, Camille and Ellen set up camp so Reverend Love can preach for three evenings before they load it all up again and head to the next small town down the road. Such is the life of an itinerant preacher’s family. But there is something different about Binder, Ark., something strange enough to cause the family to stay a while longer. Ollie meets a boy named Jimmy, whose mother is in jail for killing his brutish father. Jimmy insists she didn’t do it, but everyone else in town is convinced she did. Poor Jimmy could certainly use a friend. The Love family, particularly Ollie, cannot abide the injustice, but what can they possibly do to help? And just how long will they stay in Binder, anyway? There is, after all, a boarded-up church in the center of town needing a preacher, and Ollie, for one, would sure love to stay put for a good long while. Hilmo relishes her small-town setting and develops her characters with affection. Readers will become caught up in events as firmly as Ollie is.”
But, just like on reading rainbow: “But you don’t have to take my word for it!”
Go check out With a Name Like Love. You won’t regret it!