Review: One Came Home by Amy Timberlake

one came home

One Came Home by Amy Timberlake

Georgie knows that she is the reason her sister Agatha left.  When an unidentifiable body is found with her sister’s hair color and the dress her mother sewed, everyone assumes it is Agatha.  But Georgie refuses to accept that.  She sets off to find out what happened to her sister.  In 1871 in rural Placid, Wisconsin, Georgie is forced to ask her sister’s old beau Billy to give her a horse.  She has a gun that she is an expert at using and a destination in mind, where the body was found.  It doesn’t work out the way Georgie expects since Billy insists on joining her for the trip and gives her a mule rather than a horse to ride.  The two set off arguing all the way, traveling through the debris from the largest passenger pigeon nesting in history, finding wild adventures along the way. 

Written in a lyrical voice, the prose in this book is noteworthy and lovely.  Timberlake has radiantly recreated both the society and setting of the late 1800s.  Happily, she spends less time on clothes and societal niceties and much more on spirit and gumption.  Early in the book you can see her words at work, drawing a picture of the two sisters using imagery from nature around them:

Feathers flew up with each breaking bottle. Pigeon feathers that spring were like fallen leaves in the autumn-they were everywhere, in everything. But there’s a difference between feathers and leaves. Feathers claw their way back into the sky, whereas leaves, after flying once, are content to rest on the earth. Agatha? She was a feather. She pushed higher, farther always. I suspected my constitution was more leaf than feather. I hoped I was wrong about that, though, because I wanted to be like Agatha.

Georgie is a tremendous protagonist.  She’s a natural with a rifle, looks forward to taking over the family store in their small town.  She’s not interested in boys and is far more concerned with her own future with her sister than with anything else.  She speaks with confidence and very boldly, never keeping her opinions to herself for long.  At the same time, she is also the voice of the novel, and through that she herself looks at the world in a poetic way.

Beautiful with a strong heroine, this book is a dazzling read for tweens.  Appropriate for ages 9-12. 

Reviewed from copy received from Knopf Books for Young Readers.

This Week’s Tweets and Pins

Here are the links I shared on my Twitter and Pinterest accounts this week that you might find interesting:


The Art of Breaking Hearts – Books that will make your heart ache « The Ship’s (B)log

The Call That Changes Everything – or Not – PW speaks with previous Newbery & Caldecott winners about that famous call

Hold On To Your Tighty Whities, Captain Underpants Is Back! : NPR

Michael Ian Black re-teams with artist Debbie Ohi for children’s book ‘Naked!’ — The Family Room

Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas: The ABC’s of Learning to Read Through Play – A thru M

My top five: books to grab in an emergency! | Children’s books


How bookshops could be happy ever after: ebooks could provide new revenue stream – The Independent


7 Free Technologies Your Library Should be Using

Bexar set to turn the page on idea of books in libraries – San Antonio Express-News

Libraries crisis set to get ‘much worse’ this year in the UK –


10 Ways Publishers Can Succeed and Survive | Publishing Perspectives – note the message to work with libraries!


The Nightmare That Keeps Microsoft Awake… Android On The Desktop – Forbes


Here They Are — The Best Comic Books of 2013! | Underwire

A Literary Tour of Historical Y.A. – Entertainment-The Atlantic Wire

New Series from Author of THE MAZE RUNNER » EarlyWord #yalit

Top Ten Books featuring Autism Spectrum Disorders by Carrie Cox « Nerdy Book Club

Wouldn’t You Like to Know . . . Marissa Meyer | VOYA #yalit