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|Year we sailed the sun|
Author: Nelson, Theresa
In St. Louis, Missouri, in 1911, orphaned eleven-year-old Julia Delaney rails against countless disappointments and the nun's strict rules at the House of Mercy, especially after her sister Mary turns fourteen and must leave, but she, her family, and best friend get tangled up with a gangster and a decade-old mystery.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.60
Points: 13.0 Quiz: 173371
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 7.30
Points: 17.0 Quiz: 64919
Kirkus Reviews (01/01/15)
School Library Journal (01/01/15)
Booklist (+) (04/15/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (04/15)
The Hornbook (00/03/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 01/01/2015 Gr 5–7—Fans of spirited heroines would do well not to judge this book by its cover. Instead, overlook the sweetly dressed girl running through a field on an idyllic day and crack open the book to get right to the feisty goodness on the inside. Julia is the youngest of three recently orphaned children. With no relations, save a heartless aunt not interested in adding three orphans to her financial burden, Julia and her sister Mary are sent off to the Sister's House of Mercy while brother Bill is off to the Priest's house with the rest of the orphan boys. Not one to let the formidable Sisters, or even the local gangsters, deter her, Julia doesn't plan on sticking around. She's hardened her heart against her enemies and even her friends. It's the only way she believes she can survive. She focuses on escaping with Mary, reuniting with Bill, and rebuilding her family. Unfortunately, things don't often turn out the way Julia wants. Multiple foiled escape plans, Mary's forced transfer, Bill's incarceration, a case of the measles, a deadly confrontation with two murderous thugs, and even the weather conspire against her. However, despite it all, things seem to turn out just as they should in the end. A collection of unique, memorable, three-dimensional secondary characters round out the cast and add depth and heart to a story already brimming with both. A warm, emotional tale to recommend to spunky kids everywhere.—Cindy Wall, Southington Library & Museum, CT - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 04/01/2015 Cover art of the sweet, flowing-haired child running through a sun-dappled field gives little indication of the brassy St. Louis spitfire readers meet herein. Eleven-year-old Julia Delaney and her older siblings, Mary and Bill, are left without any near relatives following their grandmother’s death, and Julia reacts to their internment in Catholic-run charitable homes by biting the nun who arrives to claim them. Bill, fifteen and nearly a man by early twentieth century standards, promises to get the girls out of House of Mercy as soon as he can, but until then, he’ll live at Father Dunne’s News Boys Home and try to make some money. Mary adjusts reasonably well, working in the school laundry and then being sent on to work in a private home. Julia, though, takes every opportunity to act out, run off, and track down her brother, whose involvement on the fringes of a kids’ street gang puts him and his little sister in the sights of a truly dangerous adult crime boss, Timothy Egan. Nelson crafts Julia’s story from two true sources-childhood experiences of her own mother-in-law and St. Louis history surrounding the real-life Timothy Egan-and readers who attend to the author’s note may be pleasantly startled to learn that much of what appears to be generic, spunky orphan-story fare is well grounded here in reality, right down to the happy ending of Julia’s new life with a kind guardian. Julia’s kickin’ and screamin’ resistance to inevitable changes in her life is both comical and heart-wrenching, and readers who like their historical fiction heroines feisty will be happily immersed in her story. EB - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 04/15/2015 *Starred Review* Julia’s grandmother was barely in the ground when the nuns arrived, one of them “with a face like George Washington” and the other “like a pigeon with spectacles.” In Kerry Patch, the crowded St. Louis slum bursting with Irish immigrants, 11-year-old Julia was now just one more orphan among many. Along with her older sister, Mary, Julia is taken to the House of Mercy orphanage, which promises a life choked with sacrifice and shame. But Julia will not submit quietly: escaping the orphanage and hopping trolley cars becomes her specialty. Through Julia’s misadventures, Nelson introduces the frightening world of gang warfare and corruption that marked this early twentieth-century neighborhood. Julia’s fierce and funny voice keeps readers engaged, whether she is smothering her laughter at an embarrassed opera singer or marching through a blizzard to give comfort to a friend. Grounded in plenty of research and packed with historical details, Julia’s misadventures are based on the real life story of Nelson’s mother-in-law, who lived in Kerry Patch and left for good in 1912. Middle-grade readers who enjoyed Kirby Larson’s Hattie Big Sky (2006) or Jennifer L. Holm’s The Trouble with May Amelia (2011) will adore this historical novel featuring a smart and spirited heroine. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.