Out of the Dust and Reaching for the Sun

December 24, 2008
By Heather Bildman, Cambridge, MA

Books in Poetry

A long time ago, poetry was always about nature, birds, and love. Now poems are the building blocks to page-turning novels that will keep your attention until the last page is turned. Reaching for Sun by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, and Out of the Dust by Karen Hess, are just two of these books. They put you in the character's place. For the whole book, you are seeing through different eyes. Out of the Dust and Reaching for Sun, two very well written books, are definitely worth reading!

Out of the Dust and Reaching for Sun are both written in the same poetic format. The books are basically made up of a lot of poems that connect to make a story. Even though both Out Of the Dust and Reaching for Sun both are written in the same format, both authors use the style a little differently. Both books are divided into seasons, although Out Of the Dust provides dates. Reaching for Sun has a quote about the season at the beginning of the section. Reaching for Sun also messed with the pages. When flipped the pages show a little flip book of a flower blooming. The blooming flower is symbolic of Josie (the main character), who seems to “bloom” throughout the book. One thing both books have in common is the titles of the poems. The title makes no sense until you read the poem, and then you get the hidden meaning.

Zimmer's Reaching for Sun, is a heart-catching novel that draws you in by the first page. The story is a about a thirteen-year-old girl named Josie who has cerebral policy. Josie thinks like a normal person, but her speech is slow, and her left wrist is permanently stuck to her left shoulder! This has made her very lonely. To make matters worse her mom showers her with flash cards and therapists. This is an act of love, but it gets on Josie's nerves. She can't seem to stand up to her mom and tell her to stop with the all the extra help! Josie describes her mom's dreams for her as a heavy wool coat that she is forced to wear all the time. Josie's life is not easy.

Zimmer makes sure you know how everyone and everything looks in Reaching for Sun. She will dedicate whole poems to describing a person or place! Her characters are so well developed I can picture them as a classmate, neighbor, or even friend! Their emotions are so well described it's as if the character sat down and told me how they were feeling. The only problem I have with Reaching for Sun is that reading it was like eating half a cookie. I felt like I needed more to be satisfied. Once I was finished reading, I thought “What? It's over already!?” The book was a little too fast paced. It hopped from one event to the next like a skipping stone. If the author had made more things happen to fill in the time gaps I would have liked Reaching for Sun more. I recommend Reaching for Sun to any girl who likes poetry. Rating: four out of five lonely girls.

Hesse's Out of the Dust, is a captivating novel about a girl named Bill-Joe who is stuck in the middle of nowhere, suffers through dust storms, and has to overcome a very big loss. Billy-Joe is convinced that where she lives wasn't created for humans, just for the hawks and dust. She has big dreams of one day travelling out of the dust to create a better life for herself. The chances of that happening are very slim. She only has a few cents because she lives during the Great Depression. Then one day a huge tragedy strikes her family, and it's a little her fault.

Out of the Dust is so sad at times you have to just put it down. This book seems to take your heart and rip it open. It is much sadder then Reaching for Sun. Like Reaching for sun, Out of the Dust does a good job of describing people and places, but the descriptions of emotions are much better. Instead of it being like the character told me how they were feeling, it's like I got a map of their soul. I can really feel her emotions as my own. I recommend Out of the Dust to any age, it a great quick read to anyone who enjoys poetry. I don't recommend this book to anyone who hates tragedies. So if you can't handle a sad book I definitely don't recommend Out of the Dust to you. Rating: Five out of five dust balls.

In conclusion, Reaching for Sun and Out of the Dust are both very good books. Both can put you in the character's place and make you like your life a little better. They are full of suspense, drama, and killer cliff hangers. Out of the Dust, my personal favorite, is probably the better of these two books. If you have to choose one I would recommend it. As soon as you're done with Out of the Dust you should still pick up Reaching for Sun, because it is also a great book. So stop reading this, go to the library, bookstore, or where ever else you can get a book and get one of these well written novels. They are guaranteed to have your attention until the last page is turned.

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This article has 2 comments.

Singer4life said...
on May. 6 2009 at 6:44 pm


Mandy64 said...
on Jan. 10 2009 at 3:39 am
Luvvvvvv it!!


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