I have just finished reading At First Sight by Nicholas Sparks & have a completely different opinion of it than I thought I was going to have about it for probably 90% of the book. I have only read a couple of Nicholas Sparks's books, but they always seem to have the same effect on me. I am usually not too impressed with his writing for most of the book-it's okay, just not something that thrills me, it sounds to "day to day"-but then out of nowhere he throws in a curveball & I'm left feeling impressed.
This book had the same impact & I actually almost stopped reading it because I thought that he had resolved the main "issues" in the story halfway through the book. I was going to stop reading because I thought that he was just going to tie up all of the minor loose ends that were left in the story & I did not want to sit through 100 more pages of that! Boy, was I glad that I kept reading & you will be too if you haven't read this book yet (well, maybe "glad" isn't quite the right word for how the story unfolds, but it was definitely worth finishing the book!)
I have also recently finished reading Penny From Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm for my 4th grade book club. This was another book that I almost gave up on because I felt like it was going nowhere. Each chapter seemed to be its own little story that didn't quite tie together with the other chapters, except that they happened in chronological order. Again, I was wrong! I even learned something from this book, which makes it even more of a plus! :) The "meat" of the story really kicks into gear about halfway into the book, so if you pick it up for your child, don't be surprised if they don't want to stick with it (my only driving force was that I had students to report back to until I got to this part of the story.)
I was unaware of how Italian American citizens were treated during WWII, oh sure, I knew all about the Jews in Europe & the Japanese Americans in the U.S. & even the German Americans here in the U.S. (but that is only because I grew up in an area/family with a large German heritage), but I hadn't really ever given thought to the fact that Italian Americans were probably in the same boat-lesson learned! I'd recommend this book, but I think that kids (especially 4th graders) need just a bit more background knowlege of WWII to really "get" what happens in the book because many of them have learned very little about this topic at this age. It would be a great book to read & learn about it together though~yay for family learning experiences!!! :)