3 out of 4 stars
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Ironbark Hill by Jennie Linnane, is a coming of age story about a young girl named, Natalie. Natalie has a troubled home life and has been the target of racism most of her life. When she turns sixteen, however, her problems only get worse. Her determination to keep a personal secret becomes the catalyst for a number of unexpected consequences. Natalie’s actions put her in some tough situations and she begins to realize that her choices could have a negative effect on not only her, but her family as well.
The story was interesting and I really felt for Natalie’s family, especially the children. The characters were well done. Each one had their own unique personality, and no two people in the family dealt with their problems in exactly the same way, and the relationships between family members were realistic. The main character, however, was harder to feel sorry for. Although her hatred for her abuser felt justified, some of her other actions were personal choices and it was hard to feel bad about the consequences that resulted from those choices.
At first, Natalie appears to be a victim of circumstances beyond her control, but as the story progresses her morals and motivations come into question. She makes decisions without much thought to the consequences for herself or the other people involved. Although, hate for her abuser feels justified, she mentions hating other people as well and even resorts to violence on a couple of occasions which is the exact thing she hates so much about her abuser.
Although, the plot was interesting I did have a hard time following it sometimes because of the wording. I found myself having to look up words a lot, and it was distracting during parts of the story. The end was unexpected, but it caused me to have ill feelings toward the main character, and I’m not sure I would be interested at this point in reading anything else about her.
The book was well written, and the plot was interesting. The characters were well-done and I felt like I was really witnessing what it was like to live in their family. I had a hard time following some of the story because the huge words were overdone. Overall I enjoyed reading it. I give it 3 out of 4 stars.
I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy drama involving scandal, revenge and murder. The main character makes some morally questionable decisions which might not be enjoyable to some readers, and I am not sure I would allow a younger or more impressionable teen to read this. I would recommend parents or teachers preview it first.
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