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Letters from the Mountain Hardcover – October 31, 1996


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-10-Eighth-grade, Taylor, a troubled youth, is sent to spend the summer with his Aunt Etta and Uncle Earl in rural Texas. His mother is worried about the bad influence of his friends, but she doesn't know the worst of it. Taylor is haunted by a terrible secret: he knows that his gang is responsible for the near death of a classmate. They had dared DeWayne Lockhart to sniff paint remover, and he remains in a coma. Filled with remorse and resentment, Taylor is determined to hate his summer exile. His aunt and uncle refuse to cater to him, but prove to be strong and loving guardians. However, it is his friendship with poor and illiterate Jesse Lee Sinkler that produces a profound change in Taylor and helps him to take responsibility for what happened to DeWayne. Taylor is a very believable character as he struggles with the problems of peer pressure and parental expectations and limits. His anger, confusion, and rebelliousness will strike a responsive chord in other young people. Although characters such as Jesse, Uncle Earl, and Aunt Etta seem somewhat idealized, they are still appealing. The plot has enough layers to keep it interesting and the rural, tucked-away atmosphere of Butler's Hope, TX, certainly provides a startling contrast to Taylor's life as a member of the "Northside Lynch Mob" in Houston. A good read for those who enjoy a contemporary story with an upbeat ending.
Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Booklist

Gr. 6^-10. The beginning is a corker: "I killed DeWayne Lockhart and this is how it happened." The rest of the story, however, is far less dramatic and follows a rather familiar path. Even though his buddies in the Northside Lynch Mob are all off doing their own thing, Tyler Ryan deeply resents having been sent away from his gang to spend the summer with elderly relatives he doesn't know. He pours out his feelings in letters to his mother (with whom he's very angry) and to his friends, biding his time till he can escape and coping as best he can with the horrible secret about eager, misguided DeWayne, who wanted to join the gang. Then poor, proud, backwoods teenager Jesse Lee enters the picture, and Tyler suddenly discovers he's interested in someone besides himself. The novel lacks focus, and Tyler's character is surprisingly bland, given the background. But Garland makes up for it somewhat with an easy style, some rich descriptions, and a solid moral core. Stephanie Zvirin
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 - 12
  • Hardcover: 211 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (October 31, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152006613
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152006617
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,407,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sherry Garland is the award-winning author of thirty books for children, teenagers and adults. Several of her books focus on the Vietnamese culture due to her close friendships with Vietnamese families. As a fifth generation Texan, she also sets many of her books in the Lone Star State. She especially likes to write historical works. For more information, visit her website: www.sherrygarland.com

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 22, 1998
Format: Paperback
In Letters from the Mountain, I learned how fast people can change. I also noticed in this book, that the main character, Taylor, grew more mature as the book went along. At the beginning of the book he really had no respect, especially for his mother, and he was acting like a little child. He stole and did bad things. As the book progressed, and Taylor started facing problems and questions, the real inside of himself begins to emerge. He discovers real friendship and how precious life is. I think I learned that, too.
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By BSN on January 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a replacement book for one that my son had lost. His was a school copy. Even though it was a little worn, it was probably in better shape than the one he lost. Was delivered very quickly.
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By "emu6" on August 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
This auther atempted to write a metaporical story of a boy overcoming the death of his "friend", but came out choppy, corny, and pretty boring. dont waste your time.
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