I've been letting my 8-year-old pick which book I will read next from the Stack...and his choice yesterday evening was a book called Shelter From the Wind, by Marion Dane Bauer (older middle grade/YA, 106 pages). This is a 2010 reissue of a book originally published in 1976, and I recently (I think it was recent, at any event) received a review copy from Marshall Cavendish.
Stacy's mom took off when she was young, and it was just her and her dad, being good company for each other. But when she was eleven, her father married again, and now, a year later, her stepmother is going to be having a baby. Stacy is angry and sore--and one day her feelings come to a head and she runs out of town, into the wilds of the Oklahoma panhandle, with no water, food, or any sort of logical thought. She's saved from certain death when she's found by two dogs, who take her home to their mistress--Ella, an old woman on an old homestead, living alone with her memories....
Listening to Ella gradually share her own painful past, forced to become more practical in the mechanics of living, and confronted with the hard facts of life (in the form of a puppy born with a cleft palate, who must be drowned, and the tragedies of Ella's life), Stacy grows from an utterly self-absorbed, unsympathetic adolescent to an adolescent who at least has the decency to go home, even if she remains unsympathetic (yep, Stacy didn't do much for me, although I do sympathize with her circumstances).
Ella, however, is a great character--I was fascinated by what she shared about her hard life on the Oklahoma prairie, and the pages flew by.
Interestingly, although this was written in the 1970s, it didn't strike me as dated (although the modern young reader might, I guess, disagree...., and one thing that is obviously different is that this is only 106 pages, tremendously short by today's standards). The original cover, with its 1970s color palate,* does look old-fashioned...although I don't, myself, care for the hat Stacy wears on the current cover. Wearing a hat implies she had some of her wits about her when she tore off from home, and she didn't.
Added bonus--nice introduction to the history of the Dust Bowl.
48 hour stats: 35 minutes on this one (plus a hour and 5 minutes reading a Grown Up (!) time travel book, about which more later). Another hour and ten minutes of blogging and blog reading.
Total time read: 4 hours and 50 minutes. Two hours and 8 minutes blogging and commenting. Note to self: read books, not blogs. (For the purposes of the challenge, you get an hour of blogging time for every five hours of reading time....)
* Bonus feature: the colors of the 1970s