Graveyard Girl

Graveyard Girl

by Anna Myers
     
 

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It is 1878 and a yellow fever epidemic has turned the boisterous city of Memphis solemn and fearful. The fever has taken Eli's mother and sister and driven his grieving father away. All alone, he vows to harden his heart against further loss.

Yet Eli is soon drawn to Grace, an angelic, otherworldly girl. People call her the Graveyard Girl, for she tolls the bell

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Overview

It is 1878 and a yellow fever epidemic has turned the boisterous city of Memphis solemn and fearful. The fever has taken Eli's mother and sister and driven his grieving father away. All alone, he vows to harden his heart against further loss.

Yet Eli is soon drawn to Grace, an angelic, otherworldly girl. People call her the Graveyard Girl, for she tolls the bell for each new dead soul at the cemetery. Sometimes it seems to Eli that Grace is the one good thing left in a city drowning in despair, and her kindness and warmth slowly begin to thaw his resolve. When Eli is sought out by Addie, a little girl even more vulnerable than himself, the Graveyard Girl urges him to let go of his own grief and open his heart to her. But even the Graveyard Girl may not be able to help when the ghosts of loved ones begin to visit Eli and Addie.

Anna Myers's insight and warmth make Graveyard Girl a deeply moving portratit of three young people and their struggle to persevere in the face of tragedy.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Myers, who brought us the grit and heartache of the Depression years in Red-Dirt Jessie, now takes her readers to the Memphis of 1878, when the "graveyard girl" tolls the bell for the dead who have fallen to the dread "yellow jack." The fever claims the souls of the dead and the spirit of the living. Young Eli escapes it, but having lost his mother and baby sister, is on the verge of deciding to harden his heart and risk no further hurt from loss. But then circumstance and an orphaned child who attaches herself to him lead him to Grace, the "graveyard girl." Myers draws her characters with warmth and fine nuance, and allows them to lead the story through its simple plot. The supernatural thread that runs through this tale is deftly interwoven, so that the reader is led to suspend disbelief right along with Eli.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-In 1878, when a yellow-fever epidemic strikes Memphis, Eli Mahoney witnesses the death of his mother and younger sister and is deserted by his father. He is determined to flee the city, but his plans are interrupted by Grace, the ``Graveyard Girl,'' and the recently orphaned Addie, who painfully reminds him of his little sister. Grace has taken over her sick father's responsibilities as sexton at Elmwood Cemetery, including ringing the bell for the dead. Her compassion and sense of duty help Eli to move beyond his own grief and assume responsibility for Addie. When Grace dies of the fever, Eli continues her work at the cemetery until the epidemic passes. Addie's grateful relatives come for her and offer the boy a chance to be a part of their family. This is a somber tale of resilient young people caught in deadly circumstances beyond their control. The relationships among the characters and their reactions to their individual problems are convincingly portrayed, especially in the case of Eli, as he struggles with his own bitterness, despair, and fear. A grim historical moment has been effectively used by the author to show the ability of the human spirit to endure, survive, and renew itself.-Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781934645291
Publisher:
Eakin Press
Publication date:
08/28/2007
Pages:
134
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.40(d)

Meet the Author

Anna Myers's first novel was the award-winning Red-Dirt Jessie. She has since written Rosie's Tiger, and Graveyard Girl is her third work of historical fiction for young readers. Anna is an eighth grade teacher who lives with her family in Chandler, Oklahoma.

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