4 stars**** Release day July 2nd!
"My daddy says that when you do somethin' to distract you from your worstest fears, it's like whistlin' past the graveyard. You know, making a racket to keep the scaredness and the ghosts away. He says that's how we get by sometimes."
"I thought about how me and Eula finding out each other's secrets had made us both better, and how we both had our own way of whistling past the graveyard."
These two quotes pretty much sum up this wonderful story of a little white girl growing up in South Mississippi in the sixties when racism in the deep south was rearing it's ugly head. I had many thoughts as I was reading this book and the two that came to surface most often was how people often treat children as if they are invisible. And, the dangers of keeping secrets and the damage they can cause. That was Starla... she didn't know it but she was surrounded by secrets and these secrets sent her on a wild goose chase to Nashville to fulfill a dream. Starla felt invisible to everyone around her and had come to believe that she was un-loved, un-wanted and not special... just nothing but trouble. She lived on the dreams that most children have when important things are missing from their lives... like loving parents, siblings and the feeling of being special, needed and important. So, when things hit bottom (at least her idea of bottom)she did what any un-wanted kid had to do... she ran away. On her way to Nashville she meets a colored woman named Eula. As they travel Eula teaches Starla that she has gifts, that she is special and most of all she is loved. Starla and Eula begin to need each other, lean on each other and love each other as family.
Starla learns some valuable and often frightening life lessons on this journey that will inevitably change her forever. She learns that reality quite often bears no resemblance to the dream. And, that people are not always who or what they seem to be. But, most importantly, that we must see beyond the color of someones skin. Ugly comes in all shades!
I loved Starla... she was a red headed spit fire of a girl who had a mouth for trouble but a heart of gold. She was a very misunderstood child mostly because her mouth was always one step ahead of her mind. But, every now and then it worked in her favor.
I truly enjoyed this book... highly recommend!
ARC provided by netgalley...