Monday, February 22, 2010


Always a target for taunts and teasing, Mary Harold dreams of finding the place where she truly belongs.  She is pretty sure that place is the place where she was born - Wren Mountain in Alabama.  Now she lives in Virginia with her mother, and she hates it with a passion.

Occasional visits to Wren Mountain to see a grandmother she calls Ayma have Mary Harold longing to live there permanently.  When her mother swears she'll never go back there, Mary Harold decides to make the trip herself.  She may be only thirteen, but thanks to her mother's back-country upbringing and a strong independent streak, Mary Harold has known how to drive for years.  It is easy to sneak out at 2:00 am and roll the truck down to the main road before she pops the clutch and heads south.  Almost 700 miles later, Mary Harold is at Ayma's and is welcomed with open arms.

An agreement is made that Mary Harold may stay on Wren Mountain as long as she is happy and as long as Ayma doesn't force her to go to church on Wednesdays and Sundays.  With the summer stretching out before her, Mary Harold soon becomes the proud owner of Sue, a pregnant cow, and she begins helping out with the rest of the cattle.  She falls in love with the farm work, a new best friend named Dixie, and the knitting circle that makes her feel a part of the world of Wren Mountain.

Mary Harold gains a confidence that she never felt in Virginia, but she finds out that people can be mean no matter where you live.  When school starts in the fall, she discovers that her newly developed farm muscles and her desire to stand up for herself can get her into trouble if she uses them in physical defense of her friend Dixie.  Although Ayma understands her urge to protect, she is forced to remind Mary Harold that violence isn't the answer.

A CERTAIN STRAIN OF PECULIAR is a heart-warming story of one thirteen year old's search for comfort and a place to call home.  As she faces her own fears and the secrets of who she really is, she learns about friendship and understanding.  Readers will be immediately hooked by Mary Harold along with the cast of unique individuals that inhabit Wren Mountain.


Lenore said...

I bought this one for my god-daughter. She loved it!

Readingjunky said...

I'm hoping my students enjoy this one. I suggested it to a few today, but no takers yet.