Fireflies in December

by Jennifer Erin Valent

Tyndale House Publishers



“The summer I turned thirteen, I thought I’d killed a man,” begins this book. Here is a story of adolescence, prejudice, and heartfelt love that wraps around all the ugliness of a society being driven by hate and stubbornness. As thirteen-year-old Jessilyn explains it: “summers are long and hot and sticky. They drag on and on, making slow things seem slower and bad things seem worse.”

Well, they were bad, and even their trying to do the right thing was turned into something wrong–at least in the eyes of some of the other residents when the KKK was alive and active in the farming community called Coopersville.

Jessilyn’s crush on 19-year old Luke who works for her daddy and comes for supper most every day is a major coming of age experience as the events unfold during the hot summer of 1932. A bit of mystery, a glimpse into a youthful love experience, and a touch of admiration for those who refuse to be bullied out of doing the right thing makes an entertaining, refreshing, and inspiring story, one that perhaps even solidifies what we already know but don’t always recognize.

Reviewd by Marianne Flanders