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The building of the Quabbin Resevoir in western Massanchusetts in the 1930s signals the end of three small rural towns-and the beginning of a different life for 14-year-old Celie Wheeler.

Celie Wheeler's family has lived in Enfield, Massachusetts, for generations, and she would love to live there forever. For all of her fourteen years, though, the threat that Enfield and two other neighboring towns might be claimed by eminent domain to build the Quabbin Reservoir has been very ...

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The building of the Quabbin Resevoir in western Massanchusetts in the 1930s signals the end of three small rural towns-and the beginning of a different life for 14-year-old Celie Wheeler.

Celie Wheeler's family has lived in Enfield, Massachusetts, for generations, and she would love to live there forever. For all of her fourteen years, though, the threat that Enfield and two other neighboring towns might be claimed by eminent domain to build the Quabbin Reservoir has been very real. For Celie the coming of the reservoir has always been "someday", far off in the future. But that "someday" has now arrived, and the secure happy world she's known will soon vanish. What does the future hold for her and her family?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fourteen-year-old Celie Wheeler has much to think about: her plans to be a writer; her changing relationship with her best friend, a boy; and the imminent loss of her home, which has been in her family since the 1700s. Set in the Depression, this coming-of-age story unfolds against the backdrop of the actual last days of the four towns in Massachusetts's Swift River Valley, which in 1939 was flooded to create a reservoir for Boston. Amid the demolitions and the deliberately set fires that punctuate her days, Celie juggles her own despair with her concern for her aged grandmother and widowed mother, even as she experiences the thrill of her first romantic feelings for the young man sent by the Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission to finish emptying the town. With complex, finely drawn characters and fluid language that rings true for the period and place, the story is satisfying emotionally as well as intellectually. Koller's (the Dragonlings series) afterword explores environmental and social issues raised by the episode. Adolescent readers, experiencing their own transitions toward adulthood, will respond to the literal submersion of the heroine's past and to her eventual embrace of the future. Ages 10-up. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Fourteen-year-old Celie always has known that someday her hometown of Enfield and the entire Swift River Valley will be flooded to create the new Boston water reservoir. When the dreaded final letter announces the impending destruction of their town, Celie and her best friend, Chubby, realize that someday has arrived. Just as Celie and Chubby are starting to grow up, the town and the people they have known and loved slowly are ceasing to exist. Celie's Gran cannot imagine living anywhere else than on the land and in her house as always, but Celie's Mama has dreams of starting over in a big city. Celie is torn between what is familiar and comfortable and the great unknown. For Celie, the last few months in Enfield are bittersweet as she faces the last fishing trip, the last day of school, the last graduation, the last town social, and the last town wedding. Nevertheless there are a few firsts: falling in love, having her heart broken, and receiving a first kiss from an old friend. Koller excels in making Celie fully human and three-dimensional, growing and learning even as the future of Enfield disappears. More than just another well-researched, well-written piece of historical fiction, this novel shows the strong connection between background and identity. The town of Enfield becomes a character like any another in the story, triggering emotion and tears. Recommend this book to teenage girls who like a well-written coming-of-age story or to anyone who appreciates a solid sense of place in a work of literature. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P M J (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2002,Orchard, 224p,
— Susan Smith
Children's Literature
In 1938, four towns in Western Massachusetts were taken by eminent domain. They were flooded to create what is now the largest body of untreated drinking water in the country—Quabbin Reservoir. Jackie French Koller tells us that a handful of the originally displaced residents still meet every Tuesday afternoon in a building on the edge of the reservoir - a building owned by the same Metropolitan District Water Commission that sent the displacement notices more than sixty years ago. Someday is a fictional account of the last days of Enfield, Massachusetts, told by 14 year old Cecilia who lived with her widowed mother and her grandmother. "I had always known, of course, that the reservoir was coming," Cecilia's account begins. "...To me, though, it was always one of those someday things." By the end of the book, "someday" arrives, but not before we learn about Depression-era frugality, community togetherness and the universality of adolescent emotions. The language is often exceptionally descriptive—"the tension between the two of them was like a twisted wire, ready to snap." The story is moving, the characters provide insight and care for their town, and the plot is carried along by an element of suspense about the future of the town and especially its inhabitants. The author's note briefly tells the true story of the Quabbin Reservoir, raising thought-provoking questions about the continued availability of clean drinking water and what might happen today if anyone proposed flooding four towns into oblivion. 2002, Orchard,
— Karen Leggett
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8 Celie Wheeler, 14, has always known that her home in Enfield, MA, would be destroyed to make room for the Quabbin Reservoir, which would provide water for Boston. Now, the final notices have been mailed, and "someday" has arrived. Her grandmother refuses to sell the land that has been in her family for 200 years, but the teen's widowed mother looks forward to returning to city life. As the eighth grader comes of age amid her town's slow destruction, she deals with the new element of romance in her relationship with her best friend, Chubby, and has a crush on the family's young, handsome boarder, who is with the Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission. The events of 1938, including the last wedding and last dance in Enfield, are used to frame a moving and well-plotted story about the end of an era. The realistic, clearly depicted characters, especially Celie's grandmother, bring human emotions to a historical event. Celie's narrative voice is honest and involving, and readers will be drawn into her story. An author's note may prompt them to learn more about or even visit the Quabbin Reservoir. -Beth L. Meister, Queens Borough Public Library, Flushing, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Fourteen-year-old Celie always knew that "someday" the Swift River Valley, where she, her mother, and grandmother live would be flooded to create a reservoir for Boston, but she never dreamed that day would come just months before her graduation from eighth grade in the spring of 1938. The reality of the flooding of the town of Enfield was life changing for the three Wheeler women. Gran's family had lived in the big 18-room house since the 1700s; she had buried her husband, her son (Celie's dad), and a baby daughter on the land. Refusing to sell her property to the District Water Commission, Gran is the last holdout in the valley, denying that they must leave. The arrival of handsome Mr. Parker, driving his cool, yellow MG, who has come to convince Gran to sell, precipitates the bittersweet resolution. Celie's crush on him disrupts her life-long friendship with Chubby; Mama hopes to start a new life in Chicago; and an auction of their household goods ends with Gran dying brokenhearted. A perceptive picture of small-town life that defines the meaning of "watershed" as the people must cope with wrenching change when their small Massachusetts town disappears. This "factitious" novel is one of an emerging trend of telling a story about a factual time or event with fictitious people. An author's note and bibliographical sources provide grounding and the purposeful plot carries a strong message through the characters. Readers will understand how emotional ties to a place can define who you are. (Fiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439293174
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/28/2002
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 224
  • Age range: 12 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 680L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2003

    Tear Jerker

    I highy recomend this book, if you put your self in Celie's place you'd be devistated. I know how hard it would be leaving your hometown.

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