Holler of the Fireflies

Knopf. Sept. 2022. 368p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781524701284.
Gr 5 Up–In a life-changing summer, Javari, a shy Black talented math-whiz tween, travels from Brooklyn to attend Futureneers STEM Camp located at Appalachian Ridge Christian College in the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia. Moore skillfully shapes an intimate portrait and immersive experience of the camp and the town beyond by telling the story from the perspective of Javari. Guided by Cricket, a local Appalachian age-peer, Javari achieves personal growth and an expanding understanding of the community. Moore addresses far-reaching issues such as the profound damage that coal mining creates over generations, police violence, opioid addiction, gentrification, overt racial discrimination, microaggressions, linguistic code switching, and more. Vivid characters, including minor players, provide a rich texture to the novel, exposing the ambiguities and complexities of human nature. Through interspersed brief episodes, Javari’s deep connection with his family in Brooklyn and the pressures back at home create the connective tissue that binds the whole story. The serious exploration of weightier issues is balanced by humorous vignettes and summer outdoor adventures, including night hikes, magical secret swimming spots, music haunts, and lively community gatherings. The joy and resilience of two kids on the cusp of coming into their own when given the freedom to roam and discover their relationship to the world around them is a satisfying outcome, though there is no ultimate neat resolution.
VERDICT A highly recommended important purchase for tween book collections everywhere; both timely and timeless.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing