Hope in the Holler

5 CDs. 5:33 hrs. Listening Library. Jan. 2018. $45. ISBN 9780525589747. digital download.
OrangeReviewStarGr 5–8—Wavie lived 12 happy years with her mother in a neighborly trailer park. They were not rich, but their home was clean, happy, and filled with love. After her mom succumbs to cancer, however, Wavie is snatched up by an aunt she never knew and taken to Conley Hollow, a rundown, hopeless community more commonly called "Convicts' Holler." Aunt Samantha Rose is mean, selfish, and only interested in Wavie as a source of income. Their rundown, filthy house is also home to a crotchety old uncle and an obnoxious cousin, Hoyt. Wavie finds friendship and support in the neighborhood kids, some of whom are worse off than she is, but who are smart, brave, and generous. Wavie is a strong, down-to-earth young person who never gives up hope that life can get better, who finds beauty even in her squalid surroundings, and whose observations are insightful and poignant. She wants to follow her mother's instructions to "find a good life"; but to do so, she must take a leap of faith and rely on friends for help to find it in a very unexpected place. Catherine Taber creates a huge cast of characters with changes in inflection and varying accents, credibly voicing everyone from a gruff old hermit to the young girls and boys and giving Wavie a sweet, youthful voice full of emotion.
VERDICT A remarkable story of friendship, courage, and the power of motherly love is enhanced by a talented performer who brings its strong and memorable characters to life.
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