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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

CHASING LILACS: Entertainingly Riveting and Unforgettable


By Carla Stewart

ISBN: 9780446556552

Fiction: Young Adult

Publisher: FaithWords; a division of Hachette Book Group:NY

Chasing Lilacs is a fast paced 1950's coming of age story of an early adolescent girl named Sammie Tucker, who is growing up in a Texas Utility Service camp alive with human strengths, weaknesses, and secrets. Sammie is faced with typical adolescent issues of self identity, friendship, religious beliefs and love. which are complicated by her mother's "nerve" condition and sudden death. Sammie's childhood friend is sure an alienating aunt has come to take Sammie's mother's place. Sammie must choose whom to trust with her deepest fears as she walks through her own deep pain and heartfelt injustice, while uncovering bewildering community secrets.

What I really liked about Chasing Lilacs is when I was done reading about Sammie Tucker, I wished I could call the author up on the telephone and talk about the characters as if they were real people. Stewart skillfully entertained and engaged me with each character's personal pain, coping skills and sometimes unpredictable behavior in a community she brilliantly portrays with the belief that it takes a village to raise a child. Just when I thought I had figured out the next twist, Stewart surprised me with the unexpected, which kept me reading until the very end.

Similar to the writings of J.D. Salinger in the Catcher in the Rye, without the profanity, Stewart's themes and symbolism evoked many questions for future discussion. I found myself returning to read certain passages over and over, only to discover another theme or symbol to mull over. A welcomed benefit is the discussion questions at the end, which encouraged me to come up with unlisted questions for further discussion.

Chasing Lilacs is a great read for the high school or college level classroom, as well as the young adult heart.

Reviewed by Jewel Sample--award winning author of FLYING HUGS AND KISSES. To learn more about Jewel Sample visit her at

1 comment:

carla stewart said...

Jewel, I am so blessed by this review and by your friendship. And I would've loved for you to call me up and talk about the characters. I did just that in visiting with a book club last week. One sweet lady told me at least four times that she really did like Slim. He was my favorite, too - an unexpected attachment that I took to him.

So glad you liked the book and THANK YOU for this lovely, lovely review.