One of my favorite things about this book was the development of Maggie, the main character. Even though Maggie lived during the 1800s, it was amazing how similar she was to a modern day teenager. She is a stubborn and headstrong 16-year-old (weren't we all?!) who is struggling to figure out who she is. She also questions her self-worth which is a common issue during adolescence. It reminded me that even though we each grow up in different environments, we all still struggle through the same growing pains.
I also loved the romantic development that plays a subtle role in the book. First-time love is so innocent and it catches Maggie completely by surprise. Even though romance is not a priority in a town where daily life is a constant struggle just to survive, Maggie's love interest is very tender with her, showing his affection through sweet gestures and simple expressions.
The other part of the book that I enjoyed the most was the underlying theme of familial love. During my interview with the author, I discovered just how important family is to her (click here to read the full interview) so it didn't surprise me to see that this was the foundation of her book. Not only does Maggie adore her sister and the memory of her parents, but, over the course of the novel, realizes her reluctant affection for her foster family. She also realizes that this love is reciprocated by those she thought viewed her only as a nuisance and an extra mouth to feed.
Lightning Tree is starkly realistic, subtly tender, and tantalizingly mysterious. It will appeal not only to young adults, but to readers of all ages.
About the Author
Purchase the Book