“A Northern Light” by Jennifer Donnelly

11 Jul


Mattie Gokey (short for Mathilda) is a 16 year old school girl with a talent. She is an amazing writer, living in the early 1900s in a small farming town near NYC. Mattie's mother dies, her brother leaves, and Mattie is left the oldest in a huge family with her grumpy father. Not only is she stuck, feeding a family and helping out on a miserable farm, but there is romance sparking with the "most wanted" young man in the town, Royal Loomis. He is stupid, in a knowledge sense, but on the farm he is a genius. Royal would be good for Mattie, but there is one tiny problem: Mattie's teacher entered her short story into a scholarship contest and she has recieved a scholarship to Barnard College in NY. It is her dream to go, but Royal doesn't approve, her father needs help on the farm, and money is in short supply.

Mattie gets a job at a local hotel, Glenmore, as a waitress. With new friends and new adventures at the hotel, a young woman by the name of Grace Brown hands her a stack of letters and orders Mattie to burn them ASAP. A few hours later the same girl is found dead. She is reported to have gone out for a boat ride with her lover, Carl Grahm. She was found drowned and Mr. Grahm was not there. He is suspected to have also drowned. Mattie starts reading the letters and learns something that answers everyone's questions about the murder and helps come up with an answer to her own life questions, too.

This book is very hard to start, but if you keep going you begin to see how great it really is. It is geared toward girl readers, I think. A great book to read if you have the patience.


Posted by on July 11, 2006 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , ,

16 responses to ““A Northern Light” by Jennifer Donnelly

  1. Anonymous

    August 2, 2006 at 1:42 am

    Don’t agree at all

    I don’t agree at all with the writer of this summary. The book required no patience, if anything, at points it was very fast paced. It is a story for anyone, about comming of age, maturity, following your dreams and compassion. I read this book 2x. A MUST READ!!!!!! -j

  2. Anonymous

    August 8, 2006 at 1:50 pm

    Really good book. Last Year’s 8th grade Book Club knows what i mean.

  3. Anonymous

    October 25, 2007 at 1:18 am

    Mattie isnt the oldest in her family…….Abby is. Sorry but that really annoys me when reviews are wrong.

    • Anonymous

      August 24, 2009 at 8:51 pm


      mattie is the oldest

  4. Anonymous

    December 10, 2007 at 6:37 am

    i agree with this review completely. it was incredibly hard for me to get into this book. it took forever. very very slow beginning.


    • mel1317

      December 10, 2007 at 4:59 pm

      Heh, I thought this was an incredibly funny comment. I really sympathize with you as far as not being able to get into a book that you are required to read for school; having said that, sometimes you just have to find a way to muddle through and finish the assignment. Isn’t there someone you can talk to — a classmate, parent, or teacher? — about the difficulty you’re having. Maybe they can help you find a better solution.

      Hopefully, it’s just this particular novel that you’re finding a little dull. There are tons of great teen books out there, ones that will captivate and hold your interest right from the get-go. If you need any ideas, take a look around this blog and read some of the reviews. All the best!

  5. poiisoned

    October 16, 2008 at 2:27 am

    mhmm. i’m reading this book for school and i’m like trying to speed read the first half of the book. i already have like 100+ pages done and i haven’t had the book for more than 7 hours.

    to say, i like the book. being kind of picky with the writing style the author uses and all, but this is an interesting book that i can agree. only problem, well i have this with all books, is that it’s a bit cliche at some points and such but it’s bearable.

    patience wise it really depends on how fast you read and if you get it the first time around and don’t need to reread. but this is confusing with all books to me, the main story is split up by other small stories that are like inputted in between but they explain a great deal of the story. for me it’s just a bit hard to follow sometimes, but i’ve getting used to it.

    pfft, i don’t like the main character. well i always have a thing against the main character so don’t mind me. i think i like royal the best.

    • mel1317

      October 23, 2008 at 6:39 pm

      Heh … I love how you expressed your opinions here! You’re exactly right, sometimes the writing style and the structure of the story itself can slow down your progress through a book. That’s especially difficult when it’s a book you have to read for school and you’re on a deadline. Believe me, I understand. I’m glad it seems like you stuck with it, though, and maybe liked it a bit more as you got further into it.

      Oh, and on always not liking the main character? Well, I’m glad to hear it’s not just me who has this issue all the time!

      Thanks for the comment, and good luck with everything at school.

  6. Anonymous

    November 30, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    Personally, I loved this book, but I agree with everyone who said it’s a slow start. I find that when I’m under pressure for a deadline, I read smoother, and it keeps me going especially in boring books (not talking about A Northern Light, becuase I liked this book. Now all I have to do is finish up my project becuase I am presenting soon!!!

    • mel1317

      December 2, 2008 at 4:52 pm

      I think that’s a very good point that you make, about sometimes being able to read even a slower book when you know you’re under pressure. By the way, I’m glad you enjoyed “A Northern Light,” and I hope your project went well! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      • Anonymous

        December 5, 2008 at 6:06 pm


        My project went well, but I haven’t gotten my mark back yet!

      • mel1317

        December 15, 2008 at 8:42 pm

        Re: Reply

        If you think it went well, I bet you’ll get a good grade on it. Congratulations (in advance)!

  7. Anonymous

    June 14, 2009 at 10:34 pm


    This was the most boring and the worst book I have ever read.
    My friends suggested it for my isu novel for school, and now I have to write an essay and I can’t!!!!

    • mel1317

      July 1, 2009 at 9:22 pm

      Re: Terrible

      ACK!! I hope this turned out okay for you. It’s tough when you *have* to read a book, and you just don’t like it. Hope it went well!

  8. Anonymous

    September 22, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    Gack! Hated this book. It was dull and cliche. The main character was yet another poor oppressed woman who gives a bad image to real women. One of THE WORST books I’ve EVER read!

    • mel1317

      September 24, 2010 at 4:06 pm

      Thanks for writing. I agree you with you a bit on the “poor oppressed woman” angle being overdone at times. I hope your next book is much, much better for you than this one!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: