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Echo Mountain Audio CD – Unabridged, April 21, 2020
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An NPR Best Book of the Year • A Horn Book Fanfare Selection • A Kirkus Best Book of the Year • A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year • A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year • A Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year
SIX STARRED REVIEWS!
★ “Wolk’s poetic prose and enticing foreshadowing warrant savoring as they carry the reader through the narrative, which gracefully unfolds over brief, steadily paced chapters. Historical fiction at its finest.” –The Horn Book, starred review
★ “Complex and fiercely loving, Ellie is a girl any reader would be proud to have as a friend…. Woven with music, puppies, and healing, Wolk’s beautiful storytelling turns this historical tale of family and survival into a captivating saga.” –Booklist, starred review
★ “[A] magnificently related story of the wide arc of responsibility, acceptance, and, ultimately, connectedness.... A luscious, shivery delight.” –Kirkus, starred review
★ “[An] exquisitely layered historical…. A powerful, well-paced portrait of interconnectedness, work and learning, and strength in a time of crisis.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ “In this complex, memorable novel, Wolk explores themes of social responsibility, modern versus traditional medicine, biological versus chosen family and more.” –BookPage, starred review
★ “Wolk again spins a fascinating historical fiction novel with strong female characters. Her short chapters are infused with adventure and mystery, frequently end on cliff-hangers, and include abundant dialogue that will propel readers through this novel they will find hard to put down.” –SLC, starred review
“Ellie is a deeply appealing character…. A reader who wants to make a difference will appreciate the way she rolls up her sleeves and gets things done. And surely there has never been a better time to read about healing, of both the body and the heart.” –The New York Times Book Review
“This marvelous novel is perfect for our time, a portrait of hard times and a loving family in crisis—and a girl using her ingenuity, empathy and courage to forge a path toward healing.” –Buffalo News
“Lauren Wolk has woven a mesmerizing, poignant tale—a story laced with grit and pluck about having the courage to carve out one’s own life. Brilliant.” –Lynda Mullaly Hunt, bestselling author of Shouting at the Rain and Fish in a Tree
About the Author
- Publisher : Listening Library; Unabridged edition (April 21, 2020)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 0593155815
- ISBN-13 : 978-0593155813
- Reading age : 10 - 12 years
- Grade level : 5 - 6
- Item Weight : 8.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.11 x 1.11 x 5.89 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,321,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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The strong but struggling mother has lost her teaching job. The father, out of work as a town tailor, now must become a mountain man. There is a small boy ready to chase whatever comes next and the first-born daughter ill-suited to life without brushes, combs and clean sheets.
And then there is Ellie, the twelve-year-old girl. (Why are they always eleven or twelve?) She matches a tender heart with an unbending will to figure things out, to search, test, learn how.
Ellie’s determination to revive her father badly injured by a falling tree (an accident for which the family quietly blames her) leads her to inventive, if bizarre, treatments. Her quest eventually drives her high up the mountain into a world clouded by rumor and superstition. Yet through all the hard times come echoes of fine music put fallow, and small carvings given in mystery.
Lauren Wolk’s book is brightly lit by observations such as water cold and clear as “poured winter,” and of the people on the mountain, “looking for a way to survive until the world tipped back to well.” It’s those preceding thirteen words that best describe this enthralling story, a treasure for any age.
When the family suffers a setback, Ellie must step up to fill the void and finds herself...finding herself in the woods of Echo Mountain. She pushes her mother's limits; she pushes her father to come back to them; in the absence of her father, she pushes her younger brother to grow; and most importantly, she pushes herself.
This is a great story for a young girl in your life trying to find themselves and still growing to meet the expectations of those around them while also setting their own expectations for themselves and finding their path.
Wolk does an excellent job of writing a story which is pleasantly readable and serves as a great canvas for understanding how one can face adversity with grit.
That said, I felt that there were a few things which detracted from the storytelling.
First is the pacing. The first third of the book picks up quite slowly while the last two thirds seems to drive at a fever pitch. You never lose the storyline because of Wolk's writing, but the last third of the story feels a bit rushed to me. The pacing of the dialogue especially becomes jarring in some chapters.
Second is the dialogue. To me, it reads like a 21st century author writing an early 20th century character and that really took me out of the story; the lexicon and vocabulary simply didn't seem fitting for the era and for the age of the characters especially our protagonist's younger brother. At one point, a character uses the term "chameleon" and I wondered if a Depression era 12 year old daughter of a music teacher and a tailor would know what a chameleon is.
Third is the "happy coincidences" that the story weaves together. You see it coming from a mile away and when that happens, it "cheapens" the payoff when you get there.
It is otherwise still a great read and recommended for young readers, but if you are expecting a more historical take, I think you will be met with some (mild) disappointment.