Thursday, December 15, 2011

With a Name Like Love

With a Name Like Love by Tess Hilmo
Margaret Ferguson Books, 2011
249 pages
MG/YA; Historical
4.5/5 stars

Source: Library

This is another book by a blogger I follow and a book that was receiving rave reviews so I felt fairly confident diving into this that I would love it. I've also had really good luck with middle-grade novels this year so that made me extra excited.

I'll start with only two minor complaints about this book as the rest was very pleasing to me. First is the setting is indistinct. I don't think it's important to know that the location is a small Southern town but it bothered me that we didn't learn until halfway through that the year was 1957; it seemed like a historical but I didn't have enough information to declare it so until then.*** The other was a rather graphic depiction of an event involving animal blood. It made me a little queasy and seemed a bit adult for a middle-grade even if it wasn't gratuitous.

But otherwise, I was very enchanted. Main character Ollie is the eldest of five daughters whose father is a traveling preacher named Everlasting Love (that's seriously what his parents named him). Ollie has been longing to quit the road and settle down for a while and she finally gets her wish when she meets Jimmy Koppel whose mother has been arrested for the murder of her husband. The Love family hunkers down as Ollie frantically tries to prevent the separation of Jimmy and his mother and battles against the deeply engrained prejudices of a small-town.

Ollie was such a lovely heroine; I really sympathized with her desire to plant roots in to one place as well as to her tight-knit family. Although there are five girls, each received a vivid sketch and came to life interacting just like bickering sisters who deep down do love each other. Their parents are also great-they are parents who are involved in their children's lives even if some things are past them, such as one daughter's desire to be a preacher; a girl, as preacher? That's crazy talk ;)  Jimmy is also a pretty sweet kid. There is also a mix of good and bad people in the town who create a real cast of characters.

Overall: Filled with love, family, and friendship overcoming overwhelming odds, a sweet read for most ages!

***As pointed out in the comments, the first sentence does mention the year. So I supposed I should revise this to state that the first sentence did not stand out to me.


  1. Oh, I loved this one too. Maybe you overlooked, but it states 1957 in the first line of the book. I was swept away by the atmosphere and story. The dark elements didn't really bother me, I thought they were a good balance to the good of the Love family but I can see what you're saying. I have really enjoyed the MG books this year as well. Especially A Monster Calls and Inside Out and Back Again...those were two more good ones.

  2. Awww, this book sounds so sweet! I'm usually more of a YA reader too, but I've actually read a ton of MG books this year that I absolutely LOVED! :) From the way you describe this one, if definitely sounds like one to add to the list!

    I loved your review, B!! Now I really want to read about Ollie and Jimmy and all of those other sweet characters -- casts like this one are my favourite! :)


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