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Summary: Magnolia Holden has her summer in Manzanita Falls planned: she'll go to Costa Rica with her mom for an archeological dig, work as a junior park ranger, and celebrate her 17th birthday by getting her pilot's license. When things don't go exactly as planned, Magnolia learns what it means to "persevere with dignity." This is the first in a young-adult series about life, priorities, responsibility and pursuing one's dreams.
Type of Reading: family reading, read aloud book, middle grade reader book, advanced reader
Recommended Age: read together: 10 and up; read yourself: 12 and up
Interest Level: 10 and up
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: This may be targeted for teens, but parents will enjoy its wholesome story, too. The author gracefully weaves her plot around the (factual) process of learning to fly and information about bears.
Pros: The story is very well written, the characters are believable, and the story has depth, with a positive but not predictable outcome.
Cons: None, really. For someone who's never seen the inside of a cockpit, it might be helpful to have a fun chart with the instrument panel.
Borrow or Buy: Definitely Borrow, though at $10 it's a great investment. The story offers something for the whole family.
Educational Themes: Because you fly with Magnolia as she trains, you get a very real sense of life as a pilot. Beyond that, there are vignettes about life, choices and the dilemmas of being a teen, that kids can relate to.
Literary Categories: Fiction - young adult, transportation, nature, adventure, self discovery, series book
Date(s) Reviewed: September 2005
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