A Northern Light is by Jennifer Donnelly. Set in the Adirondack mountains in northern New York in the early 1900s, this a wonderful coming of age story based on a real murder that occurred in the area in 1906. Mattie is sixteen and wants to be a writer in an era where women have few options. Her mother died of cancer and she is struggling to help her bitter father to keep the family farm going after her brother leaves home. She wants to work at a local resort hotel to earn money for college, but her father refuses to allow her to work, until he needs her salary to help buy a new mule for the farm. While at the hotel, Mattie is given some letters to burn by a female guest who later turns up dead. As Mattie decides what to do with the letters, the choice she must make involves her own future as well. A poignant and thought-provoking tale.
Ratings: 9th grade - 9 out of 10 - AC (some mature thematic content) - MP (profanity).