Sunday, April 14, 2013

Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent

From the publisher: "2010 Christy Award winner!
Jessilyn Lassiter never knew that hatred could lurk in the human heart until the summer of 1932 when she turned 13. When her best friend, Gemma, loses her parents in a tragic fire, Jessilyn's father vows to care for her as one of his own, despite the fact that Gemma is black and prejudice is prevalent in their southern Virginia town. 

Violence springs up as a ragtag band of Ku Klux Klan members unite and decide to take matters into their own hands. As tensions mount in the small community, loyalties are tested and Jessilyn is forced to say good-bye to the carefree days of her youth. 

Fireflies in December is the 2007 winner of the Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest, and a 2010 Christy Award winner."

This book is a keeper.  Jennifer Erin Valent writes her first novel with beauty and clarity.  I enjoyed reading this book and recommend it to anyone!  This book is for a broad range of ages.  I believe that middle school students through adults would enjoy and benefit from reading this book.

Valent handles the tough time period and issues that surrounded it in a way that allows the reader to be placed there and absorbed in the story.  I felt that Valent did an excellent job of showing the different sides and opinions of people during that time.  Some were filled with hatred, others fear, and she even shows that those who did wrong were not totally filled with all evil.  It was an intense setting and I felt that Valent did an amazing job of handing it.  

Admist all the intensity Valent weaves in a beautiful story of love and friendship that goes beyond skin color and hard circumstances.  There are times you laugh at Gemma and Jessie's relationship and the real-ness of it.  Both are young teenage girls dealing with normal things like crushes and growing up, as well as the difficulties of prejudice and injustice.      

From the dedication it is clear that Jennifer Erin Valent has a real relationship with Christ.  However, this book is not "preachy" in the least.  The theme of Christ in each person is not something that is prominent preached throughout the book, but at the end of the book when Jessie's father is talking to her about God being the only one to keep the bad out of us, it really pulled the whole book together.  Valent did an excellent job of showing Christ, not just telling about the difference He makes in lives.

I cannot wait to read more by Jennifer Erin Valent.  

I received this book free from  All opinions are my own.


  1. I got to listen to this lovely book on audio recently. The author lives in Virginia, where I live, and seems like a lovely young woman! Thanks for the review!

    1. Carrie, thank you for this! Your encouraging words mean a lot!

  2. Beth-Anne, thank you for this wonderful review! I'm so grateful for the time you took to read Fireflies in December and share it with your readers. I am thrilled that you enjoyed it!