On My Bookshelf This Spring
A handful of the five-star novels I read this spring, in no particular order:
The Penderwicks At Last (Jeanne Birdsall)
I have never anticipated a book’s release more than this one. Since early 2015, I’ve longed to find out what would transpire with the beloved Penderwick sisters in one of my favorite series…needless to say, I was *very* pleased with the outcome. No spoilers, but I will say that there are two weddings and one potential engagement, which was a highly satisfying denouement!
Then There Were Five (Elizabeth Enright)
One of the great classic middle grade authors, the endlessly talented Elizabeth Enright (1906-1968) was a master storyteller and has written some of my all-time favorite novels (Gone-Away Lake, The Sea is All Around). This is definitely the best of the fabulous Melendy Quartet series—a celebration of summer, adventure, and family. Without a doubt, Enright is the best writer of description I’ve ever read.
Jane of Lantern Hill (L.M. Montgomery)
This is quite possibly my favorite novel ever. There are so many elements that I love—an awe-inspiring setting (what’s better than Prince Edward Island?), a cast of delightfully quirky characters, a practical but imaginative heroine, and one of the best endings ever written. I only wish there had been a sequel! (According to this article, Montgomery started writing a Jane sequel but never finished it.)
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street (Karina Yan Glaser)
When this middle grade novel was released in late 2017, reviewers likened it to The Penderwicks or books by Elizabeth Enright or Eleanor Estes. I knew I had to read it—after all, how often do current novels even begin to compare to those classics? The thing that impressed me most about this sweet family story was the coziness of the environment and the timeless prose (in that respect, it had a lovely old-fashioned feel). I’ll definitely reread this one in the future!
The Secret School (Avi)
I’ve reread this one numerous times, because it’s always been high on my list of very reread-able books—probably because are several layers of depth to the story, despite its short length (it’s less than 25,000 words)! There’s a sweet simplicity to the tale that reminds me of Sarah, Plain and Tall or Charlotte’s Web, and it’s a fantastic coming-of-age story about a 14-year-old aspiring teacher.