Jessie's Mountain

Jessie's Mountain

3.6 3
by Kerry Madden

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Livy Two has always dreamed of becoming a singer, and her decision to run off to Nashville's Music Row is made with confidence?she figures the money she'll bring home will buy the family's house as well as forgiveness for running away. The Nashville adventure is a disaster, though; even her cherished guitar is stolen. Livy Two takes her failure hard, but finds comfort


Livy Two has always dreamed of becoming a singer, and her decision to run off to Nashville's Music Row is made with confidence?she figures the money she'll bring home will buy the family's house as well as forgiveness for running away. The Nashville adventure is a disaster, though; even her cherished guitar is stolen. Livy Two takes her failure hard, but finds comfort in the girlhood diary of her mother, Jessie. Outraged to discover that young Jessie had dreams now long-forgotten, Livy Two puts the whole family to work and makes Mama's ultimate dream come true.

Jessie's Mountain concludes the captivating three-book saga of Livy Two and her mountain family, the Weems of Maggie Valley, North Carolina.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Enid Portnoy
Set in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, this book features Livy Weems, a twelve year old girl who thinks and dreams about her future and her place in her family. The story takes place in 1963. Told in the first person, Livy is quite open about her feelings. She certainly has a house full of family: "ten kids and three grown ups," who depend on her for many things. She seems to be well read, referring constantly to books and literary and biographical figures she discovers in her visits to her beloved community bookmobile. One Christmas, Livy's grandmother presents her with an old journal which Livy's mother wrote when she was also twelve. As Livy hears a different voice speaking to her from the journal's pages, she begins to share those thoughts with her siblings. Livy gains the strength to follow through with some plans to help support her family by fulfilling her dream as a singer. The adventures that Livy has offer a lively picture of mountain folk who depend upon their kin for advice, support, and entertainment. Livy wants to make a career in music for herself, but to do this, she must travel to the big city of Nashville and have an audition. Readers will learn about new items which may be unfamiliar: S & H green stamps, bookmobiles, the Holler, wool socks with tangerines inside them, and family rituals of small rural communities in the mountains. Although it may be difficult at first for more sophisticated urban readers to identify with the activities and setting, there is a charm and infectious simplicity to the rhythm of the characters' lives. Female readers especially can appreciate some of the ambivalent emotions described. The book provides an imaginative entry into asweeter, uncomplicated lifestyle, in which family means everything. Madden uses an easy vocabulary, broad humor, and plentiful word images to paint a strong minded female character. The ways in which Livy and others face the barriers to her plans for success will keep the readers' attention. The end of the book features an acknowledgement by the author of her feelings about writing the book. Her sincerity and honesty of expression are equally mirrored in the characters in her book. This book is one of Kerry Madden's "Maggie Valley Stories." Reviewer: Enid Portnoy
School Library Journal

Gr 4-7- Things are getting more difficult for Livy Two Weems's family in the last book in the series. The landlord is demanding the back rent, and Daddy still hasn't regained all of his memory since a car accident. Grandma Horace insists that they leave their beloved valley and move in with her, but their mama, Jessie, refuses to go back to her mother's home. The only bright spot for the children is secretly reading the diary she wrote when she was Livy Two's age. The 12-year-old has decided to solve the family's problems by slipping off to Nashville and selling her songs. She is caught by her sister Jitters, 10, who demands to go, too. Meeting with bitter disappointment there, the girls return home to their frantic family and to the jeers and laughter of the town. As the family's plight worsens, the sisters hatch another moneymaking scheme-the opening of a music hall, Jessie's Smoky Mountain Music Notes. The plot is predictable, but the book is an interesting character study of Livy Two's brand of love, her mother's courage in protecting her family, and feisty Jitters. The outcome of the girls' final plan is unrealistic given their ages, but it makes for a happy ending. Fans of the series will enjoy this one, too.-Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC

Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Madden brings the struggling yet loving Weems family refreshingly to life in her third story in the Maggie Valley trilogy following Gentle's Holler (2005) and Louisiana's Song (2007). Set in North Carolina's Smoky Mountains in 1964, almost-13-year-old Livy Two, one of ten children, again provides a poignant and spirited lens through which events unfold and a lot of growing up occurs. Determined as ever to help support her family so they can stay in their beloved holler, Livy Two, a gifted songwriter, singer and guitar player, runs off to Nashville to audition for Mr. George Flowers of Music Row. But her ten-year-old sister follows, nothing goes as expected and their abrupt disappearance affects everyone she cares for deeply. "A brave girl-full of heart," she is sometimes torn about secretly reading her mother's girlhood diary from the '40s, uncharacteristically given to her by Grandma Horace. In part sparked by the entries and bird drawings, she hatches a plan that, with everyone working together, really does make a difference. A fitting end to the trilogy, Madden has created a heartwarming family story bursting with love and mountain music. (Fiction. 10-14)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Maggie Valley Trilogy
Sold by:
Penguin Group
File size:
457 KB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Kerry Madden has written plays, journalism (Los Angeles Times, Salon, Five Points: A Journal of Literature and Art, and Sierra Club Magazine), and six books including Offsides, a New York Library Pick for 1997, and Writing Smarts, a guide to creative writing published by American Girl. In 2005 she turned her hand to children’s literature with Gentle's Holler, the first installment in what became the award-winning Maggie Valley Trilogy, Viking Children's Books. It earned starred reviews in both Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly, was named a “Pick” by both the New York and the Chicago Public Libraries, and was the featured children’s book of North Carolina at the National Book Festival. The next book in the trilogy, Louisiana’s Song (2007) was equally well received, being named a Bank Street College Book of the Year and a finalist for several other awards. The third installment, Jessie’s Mountain, was published in 2008 to strong reviews. Most recently Madden published UpClose Harper Lee as part of Viking's UpClose Series and received a starred Kirkus for this biography. She has taught at the University of Tennessee, Ningbo University in China, UCLA, and elsewhere, and has visited schools across the country as a guest author. She has just accepted a new job at the University of Alabama in Birmingham as a professor of Creative Writing beginning the fall of 2009.

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Jessie's Mountain 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Twelve-year-old Olivia "Livy Two" Weems can't quit worrying about the mean letters that the landlady keeps sending her family. Ever since the car wreck that left her musician father mentally addled, her mother has struggled to support their large family, who live in a small cabin in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Although Grandma Horace is currently staying with them to help out, Livy Two's grandmother keeps trying to convince Livy Two's mother that the whole family should leave Maggie Valley forever and join her in her home in Enka-Stinka, the factory town where Livy Two's mother grew up. Not one member of the Weems family wants to leave Maggie Valley, but Livy Two has a plan. Her father left home at the age of fourteen to pursue his love of music and make it on his own playing the banjo. Ever since she and her father met Mr. George Flowers, the Nashville Music Man who complemented their songs and told them to "keep it up," Livy Two has kept up a regular correspondence with the agent, and even swiped one of her mother's handmade scarves to send him as a present. Her plan is to head to Nashville on her own to audition for Mr. George Flowers and sell him some of her songs. If all goes well, she'll be back in a few days with money in her pocket, presents for her family, and the promise that they can now stay in Maggie Valley. One night, Livy Two receives an unexpected sign. Grandma Horace has found the girlhood diary of Livy Two's mother, Jessie, who left everything behind when she ran off with Tom, Livy Two's father. Livy's grandmother gives her the diary as an early Christmas present, and Livy Two eagerly devours the entries as she learns of the carefree and fun girl that her mother used to be. Jessie Horace had some big dreams of her own, and it's time for Livy Two to make her own dreams come true, and help her family by making a bold move for Nashville, Music City, USA. Although this is the third and final book about the Weems family, I fell right into this story, and crawled out eager for more. Livy Two serves as an endearing, distinctive narrator with an unforgettable voice, and the characters that surround her all prove to be individuals in their own right. This is one author that does not disappoint when it comes to characters readers can care about.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh i thought it was the show
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is inspirational to me and probably every other girl that has read your books my favorite is deffinetly Gentle's Holler its really emotional to me. You are my favorite author Kerry Madden!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!