Susanita (bardhlul) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Book 33: Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson

Esau have I hated . . . Sara Louise Bradshaw is sick and tired of her beautiful twin Caroline. Ever since they were born, Caroline has been the pretty one, the talented one, the better sister. Even now, Caroline seems to take everything: Louise's friends, their parents' love, her dreams for the future.

For once in her life, Louise wants to be the special one. But in order to do that, she must first figure out who she is . . . and find a way to make a place for herself outside her sister's shadow.

A couple weeks ago I stumbled on this list and figured I'd dive right in with the selection for Maryland, the state where I live.*

I can't say I necessarily agree with every entry, but it's a very intriguing idea. This particular book has universal themes but is also firmly grounded in the Mid-Atlantic. It takes place on a fictional but representative island on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, mostly during World War II. I learned a lot about the life of a waterman, as well as the particular deprivations of enduring harsh storms and wartime rationing on a small island where everyone is dependent on the Bay's well-being. Louise is sometimes a bit of a brat, but ultimately I found her to be an interesting character both in and out of her sister's shadow. This was a quick read and an engaging story.

*Astute readers will notice that the list contains 53 entries, while the US has only 50 states. That's because of the addition of DC (not a state in its own right but certainly a separate jurisdiction) and the splitting of both California (northern and southern) and New York (City and State). Some of the commenters seemed a bit bothered by this, but I don't have a problem with it. That just means more books to read! That being said, if anyone has an idea for a corresponding book to represent Puerto Rico, I'd be interested to know about it.
Tags: family saga, young adult

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