Right before the holiday break, one of our 5th grade students began to ask if the school library had a copy of The Lightning Queen by Laura Resau. She wasn’t asking because she wanted to borrow it. She had read the book and loved it so much that she wanted it available to everyone – and she really wanted me to read it. When our copy still hadn’t arrived, she loaned me her book which I read earlier this week. I’ve learned to value this student’s recommendations, and about The Lightning Queen, she was spot on. It’s a magical and wondrous book.
The novel opens in present day Oaxaca, Mexico where a young boy is visiting his grandfather. The grandfather, Teo, begins to tell his grandson a story from the 1950s when a group of Romani people traveled through his small Mexican town to show movies and tell fortunes. Among the Romani is Esma, a charismatic girl who sings so beautifully that she provides a needed spark of life to young Teo who has suffered since the drowning death of his twin sister. After Teo’s fortune shows that he and Esma are destined to be lifelong friends and will ultimately save one another, the two young people form a deep friendship that impacts the lives of their friends and families. Of course, they do save one another, but on the way the reader experiences a memorable and vibrant story about two groups of people who have been misunderstood – the Romani and the Mixtecos, the indigenous people of Oaxaca.
The Lightning Thief is a deeply felt novel. It is moving and funny and interesting – and it brought back wonderful memories of my trip to Oaxaca two years ago. This book will definitely appear on Inly’s 2016 summer reading list.
This is interesting – the New York Public Library released a list of the 10 most popular books of 2015. These are the books that were checked out most often from one of the NYPL’s 92 branches:
Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
NYPD Red 3 by Marshall Karp and James Patterson
Prodigal Son by Danielle Steel
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
Grey by E. L. James
One book I had never heard of: NYPD Red
Two books I’ve read: Gone Girl and Not That Kind of Girl
One book I would like to read, but haven’t: In the Unlikely Event
The others: not on my list