Mattie, the main character of A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly, is used to living a hectic life since her mom died just a few years back, but nothing could have prepared her for the year she was about to have. Her father, Mr. Gokey, and many of Mattie’s friends are set on her marrying a handsome man named Royal. Royal, though, is head strong on becoming an accomplished farmer, and he wants everything for Mattie that she doesn’t want. To top all her own problems off, letters between a girl named Grace, who is now dead, and her lover, get into Mattie’s possession. With the help of the letters she is able to solve how Grace really died, and solve some of her own problems, too. Since Mattie is only seventeen, she has trouble telling people what she really wants with her life. Help from the letters and some of her friends, make Mattie able to stand up for herself and make her own decisions. Because Mattie lives in 1906 in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, she is pressured with a lot of the customs of the time and place. She is expected to choose marrying Royal over having and education. The only people that really seem to be there for her are her teacher, Mrs. Wilcox, and her best friend, Weaver. Mattie and Weaver both got a scholarship to a college in New York City. Weaver and Mrs. Wilcox both want Mattie to go to college, so when tragedy strikes Mrs. Wilcox and then Weaver, all Mattie it put into jeopardy.
I thought this book was extremely good. All the details in the book made me feel like I was deciding with Mattie. Even though this book was not action packed, it was full of suspenseful scenes that kept me up late at night reading for hours. It made me feel how hard it must have been for Mattie, to have to choose between her love of Royal versus going to college. A Northern Light made me realize that it takes a lot of hard work, and trusting in myself to make a right decision. I would definitely recommend A Northern Light, especially to anyone who is struggling to make a hard decision in their life.

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