Jessie's Mountain by Kerry Madden
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (February 14, 2008)
Source of book: Bought it
Jessie's Mountain is the third book in Kerry Madden's Maggie Valley trilogy and takes place about a month after the conclusion of Louisiana's Song . Daddy is improving, but he's still unable to work, and it's more and more likely that the family will have to move to Grandma Horace's house in Enka. Determined to prevent this, Livy Two hatches a plan to run away to Nashville and get a record deal. When it doesn't go quite as she expected, it looks as if the family will have to leave Maggie Valley behind. Along with this, Grandma Horace gives Live Two her mother's diary from when she was her age. As Livy reads her mother's words, she mourns the girl who had dreams and spunk who has now become a tired, overworked mother of ten. Then Livy Two hatches a plan that will not only make her mother's girlhood dreams come true but that will also enable the family to stay and thrive in Maggie Valley.
In this final book, I enjoyed getting to know Jessie, the mother, a little better as well as Jitter, Livy's younger sister. Kerry Madden continued to interweave the family's hardships with a bit of humor and warmth. I didn't, however, get as much of Livy Two's voice and spunk in this one, and I found it a bit refreshing to read Jessie's diary and hear her voice. I also have mixed feelings about the ending of the book...it almost seemed "too happy" and perhaps a bit unrealistic. That, however, did not stop me from thoroughly enjoying the book and being satisfied with the trilogy as a whole.
After reading all three, my favorite book was Louisiana's Song . I think Madden really went more in depth with the characters in that book and presented realistic, gut wrenching feelings and situations.
I would recommend this series to young girls in the 10-12 age range. I think they would enjoy hearing the story from Livy Two's point of view. While this is the end of the "Maggie Valley trilogy," I hope this isn't the end of the Weems' family's story.