Fireflies in December

Fireflies in December

Fireflies in December is a book about the lines drawn between black and white and the idea that no good deed goes unpunished.  Set in 1932, when 13-year old Jessilyn Lassiter’s parents take in her best friend Gemma, a black girl whose parents worked for hers, it ignites a chain of events that eventually involves nearly everyone in the small Virginia town.

Poignant and sweet, this book delves into the inner workings of racism in the early 20th century, in a world that few of us can imagine.  This book is part coming of age novel and part historical fiction, and I really enjoyed the eloquent combination of the two.

The author, Jennifer Erin Valent, skillfully weaves this tale, bringing history to life in a way that really touches on the issues we are lucky to have bypassed in recent generations.

Winner of the 2010 Christy Award, Fireflies in December received rave reviews on Amazon, scoring a nice 4.5 star rating with more than 200 reviews.  Reviewers say it is a “finely crafted novel,” “Incredible First Novel,” and that they could not put it down. 

Valent went on to write two other books in the series, Cottonwood Whispers and Catching Moondrops, both of which are also available on Kindle.

Though it has a religious slant, the main focus of the story is the division between races and the struggle for equality in a small southern town.  I think it makes an easy read for teenagers through adults, and is well worth the $10 price tag.