Before I dive in I want to thank Kimber for the privilege of participating in all the book review fun over here!
The first book I have for you is Grape Thief by Kristine Franklin. I picked this book up because it's set in Roslyn, Washington. (If you've seen Northern Exposure, you've seen Roslyn). I was actually there this summer and remember thinking that it must have a fascinating history and wouldn't it be great fodder for a book. Turns out I was right!It's told from the point of view of Slava Petrovich, called Cuss because he can cuss in fourteen languages.
It's the end of his seventh grade year and unlike the other boys he loves school and desperately wants to continue. But times are hard his family needs his wages, so it looks like he's destined for the coal mines.Franklin does a remarkable job at recreating the era of the 1920's in this dusty mining town. We see it through the eyes of the immigrant labor, feel the heat and the sweat of the work, the desperation to make it from year to year, and the sting of prohibition. But through it all we also feel the joy of being a young man, nearly bursting with strength and energy - the freedom to hang with your buddies at all hours of the night, the excitement of planning a grape heist and the sober responsibility of family.
It's a great read and I whole-heartedly recommend it. There really isn't any romance in this one, apart from some minor characters. It's a clean read apart from the multi-lingual cussing.You can find out more about the author at her website, KristineFranklin.com