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Author: Hilmo, Tess
Historical fiction about two siblings and a friend trying to find a new family and a home after the Great Chicago Fire.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 193024
Kirkus Reviews (08/01/16)
School Library Journal (07/01/16)
The Hornbook (00/01/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 07/01/2016 Gr 4–7—On October 8, 1871, two great fires roared through Peshtigo, WI, and Chicago, destroying families, homes, and lives. Ailis, 12, and Quinn, 11, lost their parents and their baby sister in Peshtigo. When Mr. Olsen, the powerful former president of the Union Pacific Railroad Company, offers to bring them to his boardinghouse in Chicago, they accept. At the boardinghouse, they meet Nettie, a precocious, hen-loving six-year-old orphan who shares a small closet with Ailis. While Nettie goes to school, Ailis and Quinn are forced to clean the boardinghouse each day by Miss Franny, the caretaker. Miss Franny hates the Irish and takes her anger out on Ailis and Quinn. Determined to escape, Ailis creates a way for her and Quinn to leave during the day and work to save money. Just as they are settling in, though, Nettie suddenly disappears. Desperate to find her, Ailis and Quinn search all over Chicago, but it is only with the support and aid of their friends that they can save her. As in Hilmo's previous works (With a Name Like Love and Skies Like These), the relationships between characters subtly highlight themes such as overcoming discrimination, handling grief, and being true to oneself. Hilmo's setting abounds with historically rich details that give depth to the characters and keep the plot moving quickly. VERDICT A compelling read about two lesser-known historical events and their aftermath; a strong addition to middle grade collections in need of historical fiction.—Rebecca Quinones, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 10/01/2016 Orphaned by the deadly firestorm that destroyed their Peshtigo, Wisconsin, home in 1871, 12-year-old Ailis and her brother, Quinn, are living in Miss Franny’s boarding house in Chicago. There they befriend six-year-old Nettie, whose orphanage was destroyed in the city’s recent fire. Hoping to escape from their vindictive landlady, who hates the Irish, Ailis takes a job in a shop, while Quinn becomes a street musician. When Nettie is kidnapped and sent into the sewers to catch rats, they are determined to rescue her—but how? Written from Ailis’ point of view, the first-person narrative has the earnest tone of a resourceful, resolute girl shouldering the responsibility for herself and those she loves. Quinn realistically chafes at his sister’s protective, motherly authority, but seems to realize that she can’t bear to lose her last family member. The many realistic details of their daily lives will help draw readers into the story. Whether woven into the novel or included in the appended author’s note, the Peshtigo and Chicago fire-related information is intriguing. A well-researched and well-imagined historical novel. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.