Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner

How I Heard About It:  If you haven't heard of this upcoming novel, then you must be "living under a rock" as they say.  I think I've been hearing about this novel for at least a year.  I began some "online' conversations with Gae when I was sharing thoughts about Nine, Ten, A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin.  While attending NerdCampMI I had the honor of meeting both Gae and Nora.  They are everything you would hope authors would be.  Lucky for me I left camp with an ARC of this novel.  I couldn't wait to get started.    

What It Is About:  Just like everyone, Kyle's life changes dramatically on September 11, 2001.  He is in a high school class when the first plane flies into the Twin Towers.  As he is making his way home to "safety" he comes across a girl that is covered in ash, wearing angel wings, and not communicating.  Kyle makes a quick decision and brings her home to the comforts of his family's apartment in Brooklyn.  When they arrive, Kyle realizes his dad is down at the "site" because he is one of the first responders.  His mother and sister are stranded in California because there is no air travel.  Kyle needs to become an immediate adult and care for the "stranger" girl, his injured uncle who is staying with them, and himself.  The next couple of days Kyle tries to figure out who this girl is, prays for his father's safety at Ground Zero, and hoping his mother and sister can get home safely.  

What I Thought Of It:  It is so awesome when a story measures up to all the pre-release hype.  This was one novel that was at the top of my list for books that I wanted to read.  It was an even more special reading experience after having the opportunity to meet and chat with Gae during NerdCampMI.  I had attended a session that she presented at during camp so there were several times during the reading that I reflected back to that session because she had talked about certain aspects of writing of the book, research she had to do, and elements of the fiction story.  This made for an engaging reading experience.  The character of Kyle and the "girl" were fascinating to me and I loved their interactions.  Gae told the story from two points of view; one being Kyle's and the other being the girl he was trying to figure out what happened to.  Everything about this novel was top-notch and I'm so thankful I was able to get an ARC.  Thank you Gae for a special story about 9/11.  

Who Should Read It:  Everyone!  This is an important novel for people to read.  I think enough time has gone by that readers will be able to "take in" the events of 9/11.  Gae handled the day with grace, sensitivity, and thought.  The audience for the novel would be high school and/or adult readers.  I will be telling all of my adult friends to be sure to get a copy of this book when it comes out in September.  I do think that some middle-school readers would be appropriate for the story with some support from a teacher and/or parent.  I look forward to when this story is released into the reading world.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars

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