Friday, March 8, 2013


Special Feature: Review by a Middle School Student

Shank, Marilyn Sue. Child of the Mountains. New York: Delacorte Press, 2012. ISBN: 978-0-385-74079-1. $16.99 US, $18.99 CAN.

Child of the Mountains is a story about hardship and the perseverance of love for one’s family. Lydia, the main character, faces many challenges throughout the story, particularly figuring out how to get her mother out of jail.

It all starts when Lydia’s little brother, BJ, gets sick. He has a disease called cystic fibrosis, which makes it hard for him to breathe. They find out that the hospital will treat BJ free of charge as long as they can study him and his disease. The family jumps at the chance to help BJ and other kids with the disease. As Lydia and BJ’s mother is going over the paperwork, the nurse tells her to just sign it and not to worry about reading it. She signs it, only hoping that the doctors will help her baby boy. Everything seems to be going all right; BJ has to travel back and forth to the hospital, but he still gets to spend time with his family. Then tragedy strikes: Lydia’s grandmother dies. The family is devastated, but soon recovers and keeps trying to help BJ. When BJ’s condition worsens, Lydia and her mother go to the hospital to see him before he dies. But the nurses will not let him leave. So Lydia and her mother decide to break him out of the hospital. Once they get home with BJ, he dies. Lydia’s mother is accused of murdering BJ, and is sent to jail after an unfair trial. Lydia is sent to live with her aunt and uncle. Her teacher, Mr. Hinkle, and his fiancee, a lawyer named Mrs. Parker find out about her mother’s unfair trial and decide to help Lydia. They get Lydia’s mother another trial and this time it is fair. Lydia’s mother gets to go free and they both move back to their old house.

The author writes the story from Lydia’s point of view like it is Lydia’s diary. She writes it in the mountain dialect of West Virginia, which makes it difficult to understand at first, but also makes you feel like you are truly present and listening to Lydia and her family members. The author also talks about what is really happening to Lydia at that moment and Lydia’s thoughts and memories she has of her brother and grandmother, which makes the plot more interesting. Overall, the book was well written and a very intriguing story. The reader laughs at BJ’s antics and cries about the tragedies that happen to Lydia’s family.

Reviewed by Caroline Melancon, 7th grade

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