Bound To Stay Bound

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 On Snowden mountain
 Author: Watts, Jeri Hanel

 Publisher:  Candlewick Press (2019)

 Classification: Fiction
 Physical Description: 193 p.,  20 cm

 BTSB No: 924179 ISBN: 9780763697440
 Ages: 8-12 Grades: 3-7

 Subjects:
 Mental depression -- Fiction
 Family problems -- Fiction
 Mother-daughter relationship -- Fiction
 Aunts -- Fiction

Price: $21.38

Summary:
Twelve-year-old Ellen learns the quiet strength of family when her mother's depression prompts her to ask an estranged aunt for help.

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Reading Counts Information:
   Interest Level: 3-5
   Reading Level: 5.20
   Points: 10.0   Quiz: 77805

Reviews:
   Kirkus Reviews (-) (07/01/19)
   School Library Journal (11/01/19)
   Booklist (10/15/19)

Full Text Reviews:

Booklist - 10/15/2019 Only desperation could have driven Ellen to write to Aunt Pearl for help. It’s September, 1942, and Ellen's father has left for the war, leaving Mama so overwhelmed by depression that she no longer runs the household or even speaks. Pearl takes her sister and niece from Baltimore back home to Snowden, Virginia, a tiny community in the Blue Ridge Mountains. There Ellen tends to look down on her new neighbors, though in time she learns that she has misjudged several folks, including her aunt. She unexpectedly befriends Russell, an older boy whose brutal father forces him spend his days trapping animals rather than attending school. In the reflective, first-person narrative, Ellen sometimes sounds overly precocious as she relates her experiences and ponders her concerns. The occasional dramatic scene contributes to her growing awareness of herself and others. And realistically but poignantly, she worries that one day she too may someday suffer from depression. The concluding chapters of this quiet book quickly tie up loose ends, fill in elder generation’s backstory, and conclude with hope. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.

School Library Journal - 11/01/2019 Gr 6–8—Watt's novel gently portrays a family struggling with depression during a time when such things were not well understood or discussed. The novel opens with twelve-year-old Ellen seeking help from an estranged aunt who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, far away from Baltimore where Ellen and her mother are barely surviving. Ellen's mother has fallen into a deep depression ever since her father left to "beat the hell out of Adolf Hitler." Aunt Pearl whisks them away to Snowden Mountain, much to Ellen's dismay, where Ellen will attend school in a defunct church with other children from the village. There she decides she will not make friends and will not be happy while she harbors fears of depression creeping into her own state of mind, like her mother's. Ellen eventually forms an unlikely friendship with an outcast who is battling his own family demons, and begins to trust the adults offering love and support. Watts's characters are thoughtful and well developed; readers will understand Ellen's feelings as she tries to sort through her family crisis. The villagers in Snowden believe Ellen's mother is frail and sad and do not comprehend the serious effects of depression on the whole family. Students who have personal experience with depression themselves or with loved ones will appreciate Watt's subtle depiction and the patience with which it is handled in the story. VERDICT An important book that has the ability to dispel misunderstandings about mental illness; recommended for all middle grade readers.—Kim Gardner, Fort Worth Country Day School, TX - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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