Tree Girl by Ben Mikaelsen

This is a book I got from the Library. I wouldn't have known about the book if I hadn't perused the juvenile aisles in the library. Yeah, the one here calls middle grade as juvenile, which looks weird but eh, I shrug it off. I found the book and though it took longer than necessary to finish, I am glad I read it.

About Tree Girl from Goodreads:  They call Gabriela Tree Girl. Gabi climbs trees to be within reach of the eagles and watch the sun rise into an empty sky. She is at home among the outstretched branches of the Guatemalan forests.

Then one day from the safety of a tree, Gabi witnesses the sights and sounds of an unspeakable massacre. She vows to be Tree Girl no more and joins the hordes of refugees struggling to reach the Mexican border. She has lost her whole family; her entire village has been wiped out. Yet she clings to the hope that she will be reunited with her youngest sister, Alicia. Over dangerous miles and months of hunger and thirst, Gabriela's search for Alicia and for a safe haven becomes a search for self. Having turned her back on her own identity, can she hope to claim a new life?

While I am not often a fan first person point of view, this is the case of when it works. I didn't feel like I was the character, it wasn't necessary. I did, however, feel like the character was talking to me and that was the exact reason for writing the story this way. It reads that way, as the real Tree Girl told her story to the author. It's the character telling/showing what she endured in her youth during the massacres of her people. And from there, more struggles, and it's amazing what a person can live through and keep going each day.

It is a tragic story, to say the least. While the story starts off showing the character and her little world, it doesn't take too long for things to go bad and it just gets worse for her from there. It's the type of story I used to read, which is interesting considering the fact that it's middle grade as were the books I read when I was younger. Tragedy and enduring historical hard times was a common theme it seems. Don't believe me, look at the holocaust stories in middle grade. Yep, there are a few. But I digress.

I liked this book because of the character's voice. It's a very touching story and one I'd recommend to others. The end did feel a bit rocky, like something was a bit off that I can't quite place. However, at the same time I agree and understood the authors note on why he added one aspect to the end that I'll be vague about so I don't spoil anything for those that take the chance to read it.

This book may be "middle grade" age range but it's a good read for any age. Check it out.



Henry Jordan said...

Nice review on "Tree Girl". I think I should go and check it out. By the way I think we all should read books on spirituality. Have a look at my link. It's a best book I have ever read! Don't forget to review it here, ok?

Henry Jordan
The Equation game

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