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4.5 out of 5 stars
Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2008
In many ways, Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning is a coming-of-age story, but here's the thing... Violet Raines is coming of age on her own terms and in her own sweet time.

Danette Haworth's debut middle grade novel is perfect for kids like Violet who aren't in a hurry to grow up, girls who are still more interested in mud pies than makeup. Violet faces her share of issues -- a long time boy friend whose really nice eyes she's suddenly noticing, a new girl who just moved to town from the city, and a best friend who thinks that glamorous lifestyle is pretty interesting. It throws Violet for a loop, and when her friend's family faces financial troubles, Violet has to decide what's really important through all those crazy changes.

There are so many things to praise about this novel -- the lively, quirky characters, Violet's fabulous voice, the Florida-in-summer setting, painted so perfectly I kept swatting imaginary mosquitoes while I read.

I loved this book. Really loved it, the way I love fireflies and lake swimming and ice cream cones in summer. Any kid you know who loves that sort of thing is going to love it, too.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2011
In her small Florida town, Violet Raines is happy with the status quo. She's 11 and getting ready to start junior high in the fall with her best friend Lottie. But a new girl has just moved to town, threatening to disrupt everything Violet holds so dear. Melissa is from Detroit, a big city, and brings with her a love for fashion, make-up, movie stars, and gossip. Lottie is anxious to make Melissa her friend, and Violet can't stand the idea that a city girl could come between them. She does everything she can to sabotage Melissa, but it just makes Lottie angry. But when there's a tragedy in the neighborhood, and Violet fears it might be her fault, she knows she has to pull it together and maybe even grow up a little to make sure her friendship with Lottie can survive. Haworth's debut novel is a sweet look at southern tradition, at the different ways we deal with change, and at one girl's fight to stay true to herself through the pressure of adolescence. Violet Raines is a strong, spunky, inspiring character, and I hope this isn't the last that we see of her or her friends.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2008
Spunky Violet Raines isn't afraid of nothing. She loves living in her small town of Mitchell Hammock where she's BFF with Lottie. But then that all changes when a new girl comes to town. Melissa's into this one soap opera, wearing makeup, and talking about boys. Even worse, she seems to be making a move on Lottie. Violet doesn't back down. Then Melissa makes comments about Eddie, another friend of Violet's.

It takes a run-in with lightning for Violet to find out that maybe she doesn't have to change who she is in order to grow up.

I really loved Violet! Her voice is authentic and you can't help but cheer her on especially when Melissa comes to town. The descriptions of the sleepy town of Mitchell Hammock are vivid. Who wouldn't want to live there? I also loved how Haworth shows the friendship between Violet, Lottie, and Eddie and how sometimes things do change when you grow up. But not always for the worse.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2008
My daughter read this book for a report in school, and we read too so we could help out (if needed). All loved it. The character interactions rang true and it was pretty funny.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2009
Violet Raines is a girl of many adventures. Violet and her friends aren't who you would call popular, but they don't care at all. Violet lives on the same street as her best friends, Lottie and Eddie. They love to go on adventures to a cave- like tree or to the stream to see if they can see the alligator. One day when a family with a girl Violets age, Melissa, moves onto their street Violet finds her self without her best friend Lottey because Melissa took her over. Violet has no desire to be with Melissa, and Melissa feels the same about Violet. Lottie tries to be with both of them but finds herself stuck in the middle and doesn't know what to do. Lottie's house gets struck by lightning and is not safe to live in. Violet now finds out that Lottie is living with Melissa and might have to move because the damage of her house is so bad. Violet can't help but be angry with everybody about everything because Melissa has ruined her awesome life that she used to have. Will Violet just forget about Lottie or will she and Melissa get to know each other better and be good friends after all?
This book was written very well; it had so many great details and many interesting adventures. At the beginning, this book was a little bit slow, but once it really got good I couldn't put it down, and I bet many people wouldn't be able to put it down either. This book was a very quick but fascinating read. Even though this book only took me three days to read and is probably at 4th grade level it was very enjoyable. I would read another book from this author and I really recommend this great story.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2008
Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning by Danette Haworth is the first middle grade book I've read in a long time (for shame, I know). Firmly entrenched in YA, this book totally set off that "Think of what you could have missed and all that you're missing!" voice in my head and I'm grateful for it.

This is a fantastic debut. Set in a small, Florida town, Violet Raines is a fierce, fun protagonist on the verge of a lot of change. Junior High looms on the horizon, her best friend Lottie is being monopoloized by the glamorous new girl in town, Melissa (who hails from Detroit and doesn't appreciate Violet's hometown as much as Violet thinks she should), and her other best friend, Eddie--well, she doesn't have a crush on him and that's that. This tailspin of change has Violet questioning her now evolving role within her group of friends while fighting to keep things the way they've always been: uncomplicated, free and always fun. When Lottie's family faces an unexpected crisis, Violet realizes the only way out is through. Can anything good come of it? Well... you'll have to read to find out!

This is a very sweet novel and I read it in a few hours--not because I was in a hurry to finish it, but because I couldn't put it down. Violet's voice jumps off the page (as another character remarks, "[she's] no shrinking violet!"), and is full of attitude and humour. She's a delightful and strong and strong-minded female protagonist for boys and girls alike to root for (and they will root for her). Supporting charaters are also solidly "there" with quirks and charms all their own. And the setting! The setting is incredibly vivid. I have a feeling Violet Raines Almost Got Struck By Lightning is as close to Florida as I'll get without actually ever going there (one day, one day).

The film My Girl, one of my favourites, came to mind a lot as I read this. The plots are VERY different, but both that movie and this book offer unforgettable main characters on the brink of growing up, and the challenges and struggles therein. The way Haworth navigates Violet's journey is thoughtful and considerate and results in a very sweet and touching story that has a very natural and satisfying conclusion. It's going to be fun telling people about this one. This would be a great read for people of all ages.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2009
OMG!! This is the best book I have ever read. If I could I would rate it over 5 stars. It was funny, shocking and a little dramatic. My favorite character is Violet. She is very southern like me!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2009
I thought this book was terrific! I got such a big kick out of the character Violet. She's spunky and humorous and someone that everyone can relate to. I was very impressed with Haworth's telling of the story - the character of Violet is so well-defined that even if you were not given a preamble (Violet said," "), you would know exactly who was speaking. In fact that goes to all of the characters, but in particular, Violet. Violet is definitely someone you will be disappointed to say goodbye to when you have read the last word on the last page but the ending doesn't disappoint and delivers a nice, satisfying resolution. Plus you can always say hello again with a reread. Good work, Danette - I would highly recommend your book to anyone and have! I look forward to your next book and will vie for anyone for the title of your BIGGEST FAN!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2009
There's no way to avoid falling in love with Violet Raines as she struggles to cross that precarious bridge between childhood and adolescence. Violet's voice is honest and sweet and funny. And she has so much to deal with -- a friend who's growing up too quickly, the fancy new girl in town, a boy who's always been her buddy, but might be more. Did I mention the alligator, terrifying bridge and lightning? Oh, the lightning!
I thought the author did a fabulous job of creating the setting, too -- woods filled with Cypress trees, swampy areas with coral snakes and the sizzling, scary summer storms all Floridians will recognize.
Treat yourself to a book that might just become your new favorite -- Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2008
I'm much older than the intended audience for this book, but I read it anyway and found it a delightful story. It features three young girls in the 12 year old range, and a boy of about the same who is close friends with one of the three. I thought it was a very honest and insightful look into the emotional traumas and triumphes of this age group. I'd really like to read more about these characters. They'll stay with me.
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