The Wide Awake Loons

Children - Grade 4th-6th
233 Pages
Reviewed on 08/12/2013
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Author Biography

Katherine L. Holmes lives in Duluth, Minnesota, where she does does much of her writing in the winter. She also works with used books. Her first published book, The House in Windward Leaves, became a Finalist in the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and in the NIEA awards. The Wide Awake Loons and The Swan Bonnet were published in 2013.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Bobbie Grob for Readers' Favorite

Wide Awake Loons by Katherine L. Holmes is not quite a coming-of-age story, and not quite an adventure. It is the tale of one summer at the lake and the everyday life of vacation. The uniqueness of this story is that it tells the tale through two different sets of eyes. One set belongs to the humans who summer on the island, and the other set belongs to a pair of loons who soon become a family of five. As Ginny and Nettie are impatient with the restrictions placed on them by their families, so too are the loonlings impatient with their slowly improving abilities to fish and then to fly. The stories of the loons and the humans dance around each other, intertwining so many times that it is clear that this particular summer will not be forgotten.

When I began reading Wide Awake Loons, I immediately recalled my own childhood in northern Minnesota. The loons have a call like no other, and Ms. Holmes did a wonderful job of capturing their ethereal beauty and charm. The only problem I had with the story was that it just wasn’t quite enough. No one changed enough to call this a coming-of-age tale, and the story really did lack excitement. Ms. Holmes writes beautifully; her prose was both stunning and clever, and she shared the loons’ story very convincingly. However, I feel that this book will not hold the attention of its intended audience as well as it could. If Ms. Holmes wants to market this story to older readers, then I think it would be much more appreciated. It truly is a beautifully written book.