Overview

Thirteen-year-old Shanta Cole Morgan lives with her grandmother and her bedridden Uncle Louie. She knows this isn't a typical family, but she has always thought it worked well enough. She finds out during the scary summer of 1945, though, what being part of a real family is all about. As World War II rages on overseas, hard times come to the Morgan house, and war creeps onto Shanta's street as stealthily as kudzu in the Georgia countryside. As Shanta, her grandmother, and Louie dig deep to keep love and humor in ...
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The War in Georgia

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Overview

Thirteen-year-old Shanta Cole Morgan lives with her grandmother and her bedridden Uncle Louie. She knows this isn't a typical family, but she has always thought it worked well enough. She finds out during the scary summer of 1945, though, what being part of a real family is all about. As World War II rages on overseas, hard times come to the Morgan house, and war creeps onto Shanta's street as stealthily as kudzu in the Georgia countryside. As Shanta, her grandmother, and Louie dig deep to keep love and humor in their home, Shanta learns how a family sustains each member and that there are worse things than not having parents.

Living in Georgia during World War II, thirteen-year-old Shanta sometimes feels that her family and neighborhood are more hopeless battlefields that those in foreign lands.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This intimate novel offers a glimpse of Southern neighbors struggling with personal hardships as they await the end of WWII. In 13-year-old Shanta's home, Grandmorgan tries to sustain three people on her meager pension, and bedridden Uncle Louie laments his abandonment by his young, pretty wife and five-year-old daughter. Meanwhile, Shanta, orphaned as a baby, longs to be part of a "real" family. Across the street, troubles are no less profound for the Walling girls or their brother, who is 21 but has the mental capacity of a small child. Shanta's discovery of their abuse by a cruel father and uncle is preceded by other artfully woven revelations. Small acts of kindness are balanced with practical jokes mostly invented by Uncle Louie's magician friends. The compassion and wit of major as well as minor characters proves to be as acute as the sorrows plaguing Shanta, her relatives and friends. If not as passionate or as taut as her Music from a Place Called Half Moon, Oughton's graceful writing here clearly expresses the hope, laughter and sheer stubbornness bringing strength to a clan of survivors. Ages 10-14. Mar.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7Well written but unevenly paced, this is the story of 13-year-old Shanta Cola Morgan and the "scary summer" of 1945. For Shanta, growing up in a small, sleepy town in Georgia with Grandmorgan and Uncle Louie, the war seems very far away. Her more immediate concerns are her uncle's acute attack of crippling arthritis, which leaves him bedridden; the behavior of his unsympathetic wife, who leaves him and takes Shanta's beloved cousin with her; and the Wallings, a new family whose lives seem riddled with secrecy and unhappiness. Shanta is an appealing narrator, but the story drags at times, and the final revelation about the Wallingsthat their 21-year-old son who has the "mind of a five-year-old" is being cruelly mistreated by his father and uncledoesn't grip readers as it should. The references to the war seem tossed in, and a discussion equating the horrors of the concentration camps with the Allied bombing of Dresden is simplistic. Even the visits by "the magicians" Uncle Louie's former colleagues, a potentially wonderful literary device, don't add the kind of sparkle to the story that would make this superior to similar Southern coming-of-age tales.Cyrisse Jaffee, formerly at Newton Public Schools, MA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780544271777
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 7/31/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 183
  • Age range: 12 years
  • File size: 280 KB

Meet the Author

Jerrie Oughton has written several novels for young adults. Her first, Music From a Place Called Half Moon. was awarded the Bank Street College Children's Book Award. She lives with her husband in Lexington, Kentucky.

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