My Own Lightning
Lauren Wolk, Author
Dutton Children’s Books, Fiction, May 3, 2022
Suitable for ages: 10-12
Themes: Storms, Family relationships, Farm life, Child abuse, Animal abuse, Animal rescue, Friendship
Opening: “I didn’t know a storm was coming. Had I known, I might have done things differently.”
Book Jacket Synopsis:
It’s been several months since the tragic events set in motion by bully Betty Glengarry, and the routine of daily life in Wolf Hollow has slowly returned. But for Annabelle McBride it’s hard to move forward and make peace with what feels like threadbare justice.
Newly warm summer days are about to bring a jolt of change on the winds of a powerful storm. In its wake, the search for her brother’s missing dog will set Annabelle on a new path that brings her to unfamiliar doorsteps and reunites her with a too-familiar adversary—Andy Woodberry, who was complicit in Betty’s most terrible acts. Growing up and blazing her own trail will soon force Annabelle to reexamine deeply felt truths—about people, about justice, about herself—that had once seemed so uncomplicated.
Bestselling author Lauren Wolk (Beyond the Bright Sea, Echo Mountain) returns to World War II–era Western Pennsylvania in this luminous sequel to her Newbery Honor–winning debut, Wolf Hollow, proving once again why her acclaimed novels have been celebrated as “historical fiction at its finest.”
Why I like My Own Lightning:
My Own Lightning is a captivating sequel to Wolf Hollow. It is a brilliantly crafted novel that is gripping from the start. Lauren Wolk’s rural 1943 setting, memorable characters, engaging plot and gorgeous imagery are so brilliantly intertwined so that they create a wonderful experience for readers. My Own Lightning is definitely a gift to her fans.
The story follows Annabelle McBride and her life in Wolf Hollow months after the tragic deaths of her kind-hearted friend, Toby, and the school bully, Betty Glengarry. Annabelle is still trying to process all that has happened and how she will move forward with Andy Woodberry, who still lives nearby in the hollow. Annabelle is kind-hearted to her very core, resilient and wise.
Annabelle’s new journey begins with a fierce thunderstorm that she can’t out run. She’s struck by lightning and her only memory is of someone’s rough hands pounding on her chest to jumpstart her heart and save her life. Who is this hero? Her recovery is swift, but she is left with heightened senses of smell, sight and sound and a new understanding of animals’ feelings.
Since the storm, many animals including her brother’s dog Buster are missing. Her new “powers” lead her down a path of helping lost and neglected animals. They also bring her face-to-face with Andy Woodberry. There are other new characters, like Mr. Edelman and his daughter, Nora, who are rescuing animals and treating them in their barn. She also crosses paths with a true villain in Mr. Graf, who is searching for his lost bull terrier, Zeus.
I also enjoyed the strong themes of family, friendship, and forgiveness. Readers will experience Annabelle’s extended family living under one roof preparing meals together and all pitching in to help with the chores of running a farm. There is safety and healing that extends beyond the family to others in the community.
Annabelle (and readers) is challenged to explore many complicated situations and characters in her life and discern for herself what is true and what really matters. This is a story full of depth and a good dose of hope. And animal lovers will enjoy this story.
Note: If you haven’t read Wolf Hollow, it would be helpful to understand the past before you read My Own Lightning. Wolk’s body of work is “a result of everything she’s ever experienced.”
Lauren Wolk is an award-winning poet, artist, and author of the adult novel Those Who Favor Fire, the Newbery Honor-winning novel Wolf Hollow, and the Scott O’Dell Award-winning novel Beyond the Bright Sea, and the acclaimed Echo Mountain, an NPR Best Book of the Year, a Horn Book Fanfare Selection, a Kirkus Best Book of the Year, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, and a Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year. She was born in Baltimore and has since lived in California, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Canada, and Ohio. She now lives with her family on Cape Cod.
Greg Pattridge hosts Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts on his wonderful Always in the Middle website. Check out the MMGM link to see all of the wonderful reviews by KidLit bloggers and authors.
*Reviewed from a library copy.
13 thoughts on “My Own Lightning by Lauren Wolk”
What an exciting plot. Both books sounds compelling, Patricia. I wish I had more time to read.
Lauren Wolk is one of my favorite authors. If you do have time, Start with Wolf Hollow.
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Okay. Thanks, Patricia. It’s on my list. 🙂
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This sounds like a great series with really memorable characters. It’s good to know that we should read the first book n the series first.
Annabelle has to move forward in her life after some tragedies that happen in the first book. There is some information given, in the sequel but you don’t have the full impact of the first novel!
I ordered these books for a special someone. I like this author.
I do to. I’m sure they will be cherished gifts.
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I enjoyed Wolf Hollow immensely so this sequel is a must read for me. Your review pinpointed all of the components that make this a winning title like the MC and its historical time period. Thanks for featur9ing your review on this week’s MMGM.
Fans wanted to know what happened to Annabelle and how does she move forward through the needless loss of lives. So, you will enjoy the sequel!
This book has been on my TBR list since I heard it was coming out. I just have to get a copy and a little time. I love her writing so much. Thanks for the reminder.
You are welcome. I had the library had a copy, so I had them order it. Great storytelling and writing.
Sounds a really good story amid an interesting setting (and I am an animal lover!). Thanks for the review 🙂
It is an inspiring sequel to Wolf Hollow. I hope there are more stories about Annabelle.