Rummanah Aasi
 The Time of Fireflies may have an innocent, non-assuming book cover, but it has a very eerie and sinister story lurking within the pages. This is a perfect children's read for Halloween. Many thanks to Scholastic and Netgalley for an advanced reader's copy of this book.  

Description: When Larissa Renaud starts receiving eerie phone calls on a disconnected old phone in her family's antique shop, she knows she's in for a strange summer. A series of clues leads her to the muddy river banks, where clouds of fireflies dance among the cypress knees and cattails each evening at twilight. The fireflies are beautiful and mysterious, and they take her on a magical journey through time, where Larissa learns secrets about her family's tragic past -- deadly, curse-ridden secrets that could harm the future of her family as she knows it. It soon becomes clear that it is up to Larissa to prevent history from repeating itself and a fatal tragedy from striking the people she loves.

Review: For those readers who prefer creepy over the over-the-top violence read for Halloween should look no further than The Time of Fireflies. I was slowly drawn into this haunting story and once I discovered the core mystery, time traveling, and a family curse I had to keep reading to find out the answers at the end. Normally a slow pace story is a sign of a bad read, but Little uses the slow pace to her benefit as she establishes the creepy setting of the Bayou Bridge in which Larissa Renaud nearly drowned and got a horrible scar down the side of her face. The Bayou Bridge is the same bridge where her aunt Gwen drowned as a young girl.The scar warns Larissa not to play with or talk to any of the kids in the town who forced her off the bridge. The scar also makes Larissa think that her Mamma, pregnant and anxious, doesn't think she is beautiful anymore. There is another thing that bugs Larissa who hasn't told anyone: her scar burns every time the porcelain doll her Mamma keeps locked in the upstairs cabinet looks at her. Is that real or is it all in her head?
  Things get even stranger when Larissa starts getting phone calls on an ancient telephone in her parents' antique store-a phone that has long been disconnected from the wall. "Trust the fireflies," the voice tells her. Believing that the message is a matter of life and death for her family, Larissa lets the fireflies swirl her across the dangerous river to travel back in time to her ancestor's rich sugarcane estate. Bouncing through the generations, we learn how valuable the doll becomes in Larissa's family. Larissa begins to piece together the history of the blue-eyed heirloom doll, Anna Marie, that her mother keeps. The doll has been at each tragic, untimely death. Is that a coincidence or is the doll somehow involved?
 Larissa is a great narrator and someone that I felt sorry for as she tried to come to terms of her scar. Her confidence grows and her insecurities diminish as she tries to solve and break her family's curse. The time traveling element was a nice surprise and worked well in bridging the gap between the past generations and the present. The large cast of characters were fleshed out well and interesting. Though it takes a while to get the different pieces of the puzzle together, the plot picks up speed and suspense as we try to figure out how everything fit together. I'm glad that I didn't figure out the mystery ahead of time and I will say that this story doesn't make me feel comfortable around porcelain dolls.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There are some disturbing images. Recommended for Grades 4 and up.

If you like this book try: Doll Bones by Holly Black, The Old Willis Place by Mary Downing Hahn
3 Responses
  1. Ooh this looks creepy and terrific for younger readers. I like the sound of it. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Dolls are so creepy! Oh this sounds so good. I love a mystery you don't solve before it is revealed and growth in the main character. Need to check this one out.


  3. I normally get impatient with slow novels but I think the slow pacing in this one just makes it sound creepier. The younger age of the narrator also means that I can share this with my brother and cousin. Thanks for the recommendation, Rummanah.


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