Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Beat the Turtle Drum (review)

Beat the Turtle Drum
Author: Constance C. Greene
Publisher: Open Road Media Teen & Tween (January 27, 2015)
Digital review copy courtesy of publisher via NetGalley

Thirteen year old Kate wants to be a writer, and the author gives her a tremendous voice. I found myself reminded of Anne (of Green Gables) as she describes her family, and especially her almost eleven year old sister, Joss, who is horse obsessed and plans to rent a horse for her eleventh birthday. We are easily swept up in the joys and trials of their family and various friends and neighbors. I especially love how rich and real the side characters feel.

When tragedy strikes, it is almost unimaginable how close it strikes to home. I kept blinking back tears, and wanted to scream at the author that she couldn't hurt these precious, wonderful characters. In fact, if there is any flaw to the book, it is that we are so completely caught up in the normalcy and joy in their lives that the tragedy feels jarring, and happens late enough in the story that we don't have time to recover. But that is the beauty of the book as well, because we can truly feel what the characters are feeling as their lives are interrupted, and we struggle to recover from it just as they must.

Five out of five stars.

Originally published in the late 1970s, Beat the Turtle Drum has endured with its searing story, and has as much punch as it did back then. This digital reissue will attract a whole new generation of fans for Constance C. Greene. Note that the poem in the beginning of the book is easy to miss, but only by reading it will the title make any sense.

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