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Free Time? Check Out These New Fiction Titles from JCPL!


 “You’re so lucky; you have lots of free time. I wish I had all that extra time, like you do.” This statement came from my seven year old granddaughter, one of four grandchildren that I babysit on a regular basis. She is one of four children, all ranging in age from 2 to 10. Two year olds, in their own right, are a job unto themselves, a challenge to even the younger crowd, of which I am not one.

Description of a two year old: A miniature teenager who has just discovered that they can wield power with words and use food as a weapon; a miniature person who moves at the speed of light, second only in speed to Superman, and most definitely as flexible as Spiderman, climbing everything in sight, a specialist in the “danger to themselves and everyone around them” category, which proves one thing, and that is using the terms “two year old” and “free time” (much less LOTS of it) in the same sentence is not even remotely possible.

Ambitious as it may seem, in my “free time” I like to read; and here are just a few of the titles I might choose from the new book shelves at the Jasper County Public Library in my “free time!”

Sarah Zuckerman and Jennifer Jones come from different walks of life altogether, but against the odds, the two ten year old girls form a fast friendship. The year is 1982, and the Cold War has reached its peak. Sarah and Jennifer decide to reach out to Soviet Premier Uri Andropov, begging for peace by writing letters. The Kremlin responds, but only to Jenny’s letter, and Sarah is left behind when her friend accepts his invitation to visit the USSR. The breach in the girls’ friendship has not yet healed, when in 1985, Jenny and her parents are killed in a plane crash. Fast forward ten years, and Sarah has moved on to graduate from college, but puts her life on hold to fly to Moscow when she receives word that Jenny may still be alive. Setting out in search of the truth, Sarah begins to dig deep into the history of the Cold War saga, discovering that it’s hard to separate fact from fiction in “You Are One of Them” by Elliot Holt.

The year is 1850, the setting, Ohio. The main character, Honor Bright, is a modest, young Quaker girl who has just left her native England to live in a new land, among strangers, forced by family tragedy to relocate in the harsh, unfamiliar landscape she now calls home. Living within a religious community does little to cover up the injustice of her new surroundings, however, and Honor finds herself drawn into the secretive activities of the Underground Railroad, helping runaway slaves find freedom, eventually realizing that she must decide if it is safe for her to act on her beliefs, and what, if any, personal cost there is to herself in “The Last Runaway” by Tracy Chevalier.

Val and Karen are sisters; Karen bearing the brunt of responsibility for their ailing mother and Val free to pursue the career of her dreams in theater. Coming home has never been a consideration for Val; that is, until their mother has a stroke and she is forced back to their hometown. When the two sisters reunite, they must each come to terms with their past mistakes and their relationship. Will they be able to forgive, and let go of old hurts to move on and finally find happiness? Find out in “That Certain Summer” by Irene Hannon.

The Outer Banks of North Carolina offers refuge and solitude for Amy Lang. The death of her brother, Ben, has left her grief-stricken and searching for answers. Rosemary Cottage, a haven within the peaceful Outer Banks, has been in Amy’s family for generations, and is the perfect place for her to begin the process of healing. Feeling that Ben’s death was brought about by foul play, Amy seeks the help of the Coast Guard team, who are quick to dismiss her concerns, calling his death a tragic accident. Plagued by doubt, Amy turns to Coast Guard Officer, Curtis Ireland for help, but Officer Ireland carries a secret; a secret that will change Amy’s world forever in “Rosemary Cottage,” book number 2 in the Hope Beach Series by Colleen Coble.

Two year olds love to talk, and their vocabulary varies with “mine” and “no!” as favorites at the top of the list. Two year olds love to experiment with their newly discovered powers, pushing, pulling, touching and exploring drawers and cabinets; and two year olds, just like us old folks, love books, and since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I hope my grandson imitates me enjoying my “free time” as I read these new titles from my friends at JCPL!