Monday, April 19, 2010

HOW TO BUILD A HOUSE by Dana Reinhardt

HOW TO BUILD A HOUSE by Dana Reinhardt is a fun book.  It has a little bit of everything - romance, generous community service-type work, and plenty of family issues.  I borrowed it from the public library but quickly decided I needed to purchase a copy for my classroom.

Harper has found a way to escape the problems she doesn't want to face at home.  Her mother died when she was two, and she freely admits she doesn't remember much about her.  Her family problems involve her father remarrying, bringing a terrific step-mother and several siblings into Harper's life, and then messing things up enough to cause a divorce that took all those things away.  Dealing with the new form her family relationships are taking is more than Harper can handle at the moment.

Summer is just beginning and so is a unique opportunity for Harper.  She is headed from her home in California to Tennessee where she will be helping a family rebuild their home after a devastating tornado.  It's hard to believe she would be swinging a hammer and using power tools to create a house from the ground up.

Harper's experience is one she will never forget.  She not only learned about what it takes to build a house, but she also made terrific new friends, met a great guy, and came to better understand the events that so recently changed her life.

Author Dana Reinhardt creatively combines the Tennessee building project with the troubles Harper is facing at home by alternating scenes from both locations.  She fills out her cast of characters with a variety of easy to relate to teens who have also given their summer to help those in need.  Readers will find the novel entertaining and at the same time informative as it showcases the benefits of community service.

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