Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
Only 4 left in stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Fireflies in December has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it is still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Fireflies in December Paperback – January 1, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 319 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Jessilyn Lassiter Series

See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$12.99
$4.96 $0.01
Audio CD
"Please retry"
$9.99

The Numberlys Best Books of the Year So Far
$12.99 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 4 left in stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover


Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Little does anyone realize that simple Christian charity will inflame the bigots and hatemongers in this small Virginia town. Escalating episodes of horrific violence ensue, including sexual attacks directed at 13-year-old Jessilyn Lassiter, the novel’s narrator, after her white family takes in her black best friend, Gemma, when she is orphaned by a tragic fire. Winner of the Christian Writers Guild’s 2007 Operation First Novel contest, Valent has created a darkly evocative historical novel that boldly explores the divisive effects of unreasoning hatred, greed, and fear on a community already struggling with the economic and racial tensions caused by the Depression and exacerbated by the Ku Klux Klan. As these forces impact one family, childhood innocence is lost, but Valent’s characters also experience the affirmation of a deeper, more lasting faith. --Lynne Welch

Review

"When her best friend Gemma's parents are killed in a house fire, Jessilyn Lassiter's parents take the girl in. Trouble is, the year is 1932, Gemma is black, the Lassiters are white, and they live in a small Virginia town. Spunky Jessilyn is 13 years old, but her story will appeal to readers of all ages. Winner of the Christian Writers Guild's 2007 Operation First Novel contest, Valent's debut is both heartwarming and hand-wringing as it shows how one family endured the threats small and large of a prejudiced community while maintaining moral integrity. The cast of characters is rich. Jessilyn's mother wrestles with the social cost of challenging convention, her father is a dream dad and the neighbor's wisdom is as spicy as her cake. Jessilyn's romantic interest and penchant for trouble keep the tone light while the plot reminds readers of the evil that ordinary human beings are capable of doing, even in the name of righteousness. The book stares down violence and terror, making its affirmation of surprising goodness believable." --Publishers Weekly, December 1, 2008, starred review

Little does anyone realize that simple Christian charity will inflame the bigots and hatemongers in this small Virginia town. Escalating episodes of horrific violence ensue, including sexual attacks directed at 13-year-old Jessilyn Lassiter, the novel's narrator, after her white family takes in her black best friend, Gemma, when she is orphaned by a tragic fire. Winner of the Christian Writers Guild's 2007 Operation First Novel contest, Valent has created a darkly evocative historical novel that boldly explores the divisive effects of unreasoning hatred, greed, and fear on a community already struggling with the economic and racial tensions caused by the Depression and exacerbated by the Ku Klux Klan. As these forces impact one family, childhood innocence is lost, but Valent's characters also experience the affirmation of a deeper, more lasting faith. --Booklist, December 1, 2008
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; First Edition edition (January 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414324324
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414324326
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (319 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #515,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"The summer I turned thirteen, I thought I'd killed a man."

In these first eleven words of Fireflies in December we realize Jessilyn Lassiter's world is pregnant with change. Not only is she walking that tenuous line between childhood and womanhood, but during the summer of 1932 Jessilyn finds herself in the crosshairs of man's hatred for his fellow man.

When her best friend Gemma's parents are tragically killed in a fire, Jessilyn's father takes the girl in. No matter that she's as dark as coffee and sticks out in their white family like a sheep in a cow field. Harley Lassiter sees people for their hearts, not their skin color. If only the rest of Calloway County felt the same way. Soon Jessilyn is ostracized by whites and blacks alike. This racial mingling "just ain't done", and it isn't long before the Lassiter family becomes a target for something much more sinister, and deadly. The Klu Klux Klan.

In Fireflies in December Valent has skillfully dropped us into the middle of southern Virginia during a turbulent time in our country's history. Less than seventy years had passed since the Civil War, and unfortunately not everyone embraced its outcome. The Great Depression's talons still clung to many families. "Things were poor, especially in our parts, and for having a working farm and a good truck, we were fortunate. We even had some conveniences that other people envied, like a fancy icebox and a telephone..."

Fear has a way of bringing out the worst in folks, and perhaps that's why racism was still so prevalent in the south of 1932. As I read this novel, I found myself amazed that such hatred existed.
Read more ›
Comment 98 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I just finished one of the most delightful novels I have read in a long time. Jessilyn Lassister is a captivating 13 year old girl in the South in the early 1930's. Although this book is suited for all age groups I found as a woman in my sixties I had the joy of reliving that summer I turned 13 along with Jessie. Jennifer Valent invited the reader into the pages of the novel and as each page turned one could feel what Jessie felt, the heat, the emotions, etc. As other reviewers have mentioned it will cause you to search your own heart to check your prejudice level. It raised the question would you respond to Jessie's family decision the same way as the town or would you be more like Miss Cleta? I will be keeping my eye out for new books from Jennifer who has a real story telling gift.
2 Comments 30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As I began to read this award-winning novel by Jennifer Erin Valent, it's difficult to believe it's a "first novel"! She opens with the revelation that when she turned thirteen, she 'thought she'd killed a man'.
The story keeps you pretty much on edge from the beginning with life-like characters who speak very early southern dialect from down on the farm or cotton patch.
It's very easy for me to understand such dialect, having grown up in the early 1950's (although this was set in the 1930's), because I grew up in Kentucky coal country, where we spoke in the same manner.
Excitement grows as the character and her family take in a little black child whose house was burned down and her parents killed in the fire.
You just don't do that in those days with the KKK living in your town! Trouble is constantly brewing and people want you to do things their way-and taking in a colored girl.....well, that "ain't right" for white folks to do.
Not wanting to allow anger, hatred, and injustices dictate over love and compassion, the family firmly decides to keep her anyway.
Murder, arson, and threats become the normal for this compassionate and loving family. Justice? Well, where is it? Faith in God to prove that love will conquer over evil is this family's sustaining belief.
If you enjoy suspense and intrigue, you should love this story......it's a series of three, so you may want to buy them all at once!
3 Comments 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Color me "amazed." But I knew from the first word of this novel that I would be hooked until I read the last. I knew that my own writing would somehow take second place to the reading of someone else's. I knew I'd found a part of the South -- my own heritage -- that I stand proud in the shadow of and that causes me to hang my head in shame.

I had a few questions along the way, however. For one, even though Gemma had no biological family left, why wouldn't someone of "color" come forward to take her in? While I understand why the "whites" in town were upset with the Lassiter's decision to raise Gemma, why weren't the "coloreds?" (Remember, I grew up in the South, too, and I know both sides of this card.)

But even with the questions, I was reminded of my family heritage, rich in reaching across race lines. Many, many years ago my great uncle and great aunt "took in" a black child who was severely burned (my great-uncle was the physician who treated him) and whose family had rejected him because of his "pink" skin. NFL great George Rogers was practically a member of my 2nd cousins family. For those memories alone, this book was valuable to me.

One other issue I had was that I was not fully aware of the era until about 1/3 way through the book. I may have missed the clues before that ... I began this book on an airplane with lots of little kids anxious to get to Disney! So, take that issue with a grain of salt.

Bottom line: do I recommend this to other readers??? Only those I really, really like!!! :) I LOVE THIS BOOK! And I cannot wait to see what comes next from Jennifer Erin Valent!

Eva Marie Everson
Author: Things Left Unspoken: A Novel
Comment 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Fireflies in December
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Fireflies in December