Have you fallen out of a tree today? (a book review)

Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshis.

A super smart girl tries her best to enter the social world of her peers with disastrous results while grieving her father’s death.

This is the new cover to be released this year.






Ten reasons to love Emma-Jean:

  1.  The reader feels the emotion even though the character isn’t blubbering. No gimmicks.
  2. A quirky genius of a girl protagonist with a well-rounded cast of secondary characters.
  3. Ms. Tarshis does an excellent job of switching over to another girl’s pov that doesn’t break up the story, but deepens it.
  4. An example of  3rd person pov writing that works. The author’s telling of the story and word choice reflects Emma-Jean.
  5. Ms. Tarshis never tells us what Emma-Jean is like: we slowly figure it out through Emma-Jean’s dialogue and actions. Great showing.
  6. You can’t help but root for a girl who has no clue why middle school girls are so complicated.
  7. Ms. Tarshis never manipulates the reader through gimmicks or fancy prose – a simple story that cuts straight to the heart.
  8. We see important secondary characters experience an emotional arc, not just Emma-Jean.
  9. It’s a short read, not padded with extra prose and filler scenes.
  10. It’s a good cry.

And here’s the companion novel, which I haven’t read yet, but I know exactly where it sits on our library shelves!

What book have you read that not only knocked your holey socks off but would be a great book for fellow writers to study excellent craft?

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10 Responses to Have you fallen out of a tree today? (a book review)

  1. The Alliterative Allomorph March 17, 2010 at 7:13 am #

    Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson, for it’s magical poetic prose, and the Robber Bride, by Margaret Atwood, for literally making me laugh, sulk, moan and cry out loud! 🙂

  2. Laura March 17, 2010 at 11:01 am #

    Thanks AA for the suggestions! I haven’t heard of those. 🙂 Robber Bride sounds funny.

  3. Terry Lynn Johnson March 17, 2010 at 2:46 pm #

    I enjoyed reading this. Love having new books to look up. Thanks. (sorry, don’t have a specific book to include in the discussion)

  4. Laura March 17, 2010 at 3:39 pm #

    That’s okay, Terry Lyn. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Stephen Tremp March 17, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

    Emotion is vital to engaging the reader, even for a very young audience. Kids pick up on emotion as they place themselves in the setting or as one of the characters.

    Stephen Tremp

  6. Laura March 17, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

    Stephen – And I think the kids would feel it in this book – definitely.

  7. Jenn Johansson March 18, 2010 at 1:14 am #

    Great suggestions! I look forward to checking those out.

  8. Kris March 18, 2010 at 11:48 am #

    I’m sure this is the cop-out answer since it’s the Newbury Winner this year, but I read When You Reach Me last summer and it knocked me out. If you haven’t read it, you should! It’s great — simple, but complicated at the same time.

  9. Laura March 18, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

    Thanks Jenn and Kris for the suggestions.

  10. Jackee March 18, 2010 at 4:30 pm #

    Great review!

    Last book I read was Love Walked In by Masrisa de los Santos and I loved the raw emotion she can suggest is happening rather than tell her readers.

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