I love middle grade historical fiction novels. And despite this being the last week of school, I have managed to get a fair amount of reading done. Child of the Mountains by Marilyn Sue Shank is set in 1953, West Virginia where Lydia and her family are poor but happy. When her brother is born suffering from cystic fibrosis and her father dies, it is just the four of them - Lydia, Gran, Mom, and BJ - together, trying to survive. However, things only get worse when BJ dies and their mom is arrested and put in jail for his death. Lydia's story is revealed throughout this book as she tries her best to cope while living with her uncle William and aunt Ethel Mae. She dreams of seeing her mother again and being a family. When she discovers a secret that her uncle Williams is keeping, Lydia has to re-evaluate what being a family is all about.
I loved how Shank revealed bits and pieces of Lydia's story. Although sometimes I could guess at what I thought had happened to Lydia, Shank's writing made this story interesting and real. Her own background growing up in West Virginia gives Lydia's story credibility as well.