Note–the following review was written for Amazon.com through the Amazon Vine program. As such, I received the book at no cost to me, provided I would write a review on the Amazon site. I am posting all reviews on this site as well. All non-YA (young adult) books will be labeled as such–assume all others are intended for middle- and high school readers.
Just the other day, I was talking with some of my 8th grade students about why they don’t like historical fiction. The main reason was that most of the historical fiction they’ve been assigned hasn’t been very interesting. I am confident they would feel differently after reading Strings Attached.
Jumping back and forth between 1939, 1945, and 1950, Strings Attached tells the story of Kit Corrigan, a 17-year-old Irish American from Providence, Rhode Island. To say that this is a story of a young girl who moved to New York City to make it in show business would be accurate–but it would leave out all of the good stuff. At once a romance, a mystery, and, at times, a tragedy, Strings Attached is one of those rare books that seems to have everything–until you turn the page and find even more.
I tell my students that historical fiction is great because it sheds a human light on the big events of history. Learning about World War II from a history book (or even from a really good history teacher) takes the big picture into account. Historical fiction is all about the little picture–how regular people lived, day to day, during specific time periods. Kit Corrigan’s story is a brilliant example of this. You learn through her struggles, and her stories of poverty during the depression, and fear during wartime. Children fortunate enough to have never experienced it first hand begin to understand what it must have been like to live with the thread of The Bomb, scurrying into the subway with Kit as the air raid siren sounds.
A final bonus for this book–there’s really nothing in this book that would make it inappropriate for its intended age group (middle and high school students). While I am a proponent of allowing children uncensored access to all grade-level-appropriate books, some do contain language or situations ‘not suitable for children’. While there is nothing bland about this book in any way, I can’t imagine anyone objecting to any of the content.