Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 03/15/2016 *Starred Review* Eleven-year-old Annabelle is living a relatively idyllic life on her family’s Pennsylvania farm, until its normalcy is interrupted by Betty Glengarry, who has been sent to live with her grandparents because she is “incorrigible.” Betty’s sullen presence quickly upsets the one-room school’s traditional pecking order, and Annabelle and her younger brothers are Betty’s favorite targets—until Annabelle stands up to her. Not to be outdone, Betty shifts her attention to Toby, a strange WWI veteran already saddled with a dubious reputation within the community. Wolk conjures an aura of unease and dread from the first chapter, even as her pastoral setting and Annabelle’s sunny family life seem to suggest that a happy ending is possible. The spare but hauntingly beautiful language paints every early morning walk to school, household chore, emotion, and rational and irrational thought in exquisite detail, while remaining true to Annabelle’s early-adolescent voice. Her craft notwithstanding, Wolk is relentless in her message: lies and secrets, even for the most noble of reasons, have unintended consequences, as Annabelle’s poignant dilemma reminds us long after the last page is turned. Perfectly pitched to be used in classrooms in conjunction with To Kill a Mockingbird. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 12/01/2016 Gr 5–8—In 1943 rural Pennsylvania, Annabelle is plagued by intense and violent bullying by new girl Betty—until Betty goes missing. The prime suspect is a local World War I vet and resident oddball, Toby. Annabelle knows Toby is innocent and sets out to prove it. Prejudice is not sugarcoated; Wolk displays deep respect for readers and trusts them to grapple with complex moral themes. A middle grade novel distinguished for its stark honesty and unflinching exploration of injustice. - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.