Color me "amazed." But I knew from the first word of this novel that I would be hooked until I read the last. I knew that my own writing would somehow take second place to the reading of someone else's. I knew I'd found a part of the South -- my own heritage -- that I stand proud in the shadow of and that causes me to hang my head in shame. I had a few questions along the way, however. For one, even though Gemma had no biological family left, why wouldn't someone of "color" come forward to take her in? While I understand why the "whites" in town were upset with the Lassiter's decision to raise Gemma, why weren't the "coloreds?" (Remember, I grew up in the South, too, and I know both sides of this card.)But even with the questions, I was reminded of my family heritage, rich in reaching across race lines. Many, many years ago my great uncle and great aunt "took in" a black child who was severely burned (my great-uncle was the physician who treated him) and whose family had rejected him because of his "pink" skin. NFL great George Rogers was practically a member of my 2nd cousins family. For those memories alone, this book was valuable to me.One other issue I had was that I was not fully aware of the era until about 1/3 way through the book. I may have missed the clues before that ... I began this book on an airplane with lots of little kids anxious to get to Disney! So, take that issue with a grain of salt.Bottom line: do I recommend this to other readers??? Only those I really, really like!!! :) I LOVE THIS BOOK! And I cannot wait to see what comes next from Jennifer Erin Valent!Eva Marie Everson
Fireflies in December is an exceptional read! The author, Jennifer Erin Valent, writes with a southern literature accent that takes you to the center of what is being said in the novel. The story starts in the summer of 1932 when she, Jessilyn Lassiter, thought she had killed a man. Then her best friend loses her parents in a tragic fire. Since the friend had no parents, Jessilyns father vowed to raise Gemma as if she was his own. The only problem was one child was white and the other black. Fireflies in December covers injustice, riots, peaceful friendships, tragedy, sense of community and memories of an era that has long past. This is a book that I feel all teenagers should read. They would never look at prejudice the same again.
WOW!"Fireflies in December" by Jennifer Erin Valent is filled with memorable moments. Some as sweet as Southern iced tea, others as heavy and uncomforatble as a summer afternoon without a breeze! This book is a subtly delivered and poignant look at racial prejudice and Christian character that dares to stand against it.Jennifer Erin Valent is a fresh voice with a smooth, Southern lilt. She illuminates this dark season of America's past with hope and Christian love as she tells the story of two young girls (one white, one black) and their friendship and reliance on each other after tragedy strikes in this turbulent time. A brilliant supporting cast of characters lends to the sense of community as well as the unease and turbulence of the era.The reader is also transported in time and place through the charming expressions employed by the author. This novel could easily become a beloved piece of modern literature, and should take its deserved place on the required reading list of every high school in America.From injustice to riots to peaceful friendships enjoyed by neighbors who share everything (including kittens), Jennifer Erin Valent captures bittersweet memories of bygone (and not so bygone) days. This is an exceptional read!