Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning

In many ways, Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning (Walker Books, August 2008) is a coming-of-age story, but here’s the thing…  Violet Raines is coming of age on her own terms and in her own sweet time. 

Danette Haworth’s debut middle grade novel is perfect for kids like Violet who aren’t in a hurry to grow up, girls who are still more interested in mud pies than makeup.  Violet faces her share of issues — a long time boy friend whose really nice eyes she’s suddenly noticing, a new girl who just moved to town from the city, and a best friend who thinks that glamorous lifestyle is pretty interesting.  It throws Violet for a loop, and when her friend’s family faces financial troubles, Violet has to decide what’s really important through all those crazy changes.

There are so many things to praise about this novel  — the lively, quirky characters, Violet’s fabulous voice,  the Florida-in-summer setting, painted so perfectly I kept swatting imaginary mosquitoes while I read.

I loved this book.  Really loved it, the way I love fireflies and lake swimming and ice cream cones in summer.  Any kid you know who loves that sort of thing is going to love it, too.