With a Name Like Love

by Tess Hilmo

Thirteen-year-old Ollie Love is the oldest of itinerant preacher Everlasting Love’s... read more

Thirteen-year-old Ollie Love is the oldest of itinerant preacher Everlasting Love’s five daughters. When the family stops for a few days in Binder, Arkansas, to preach, Ollie meets a boy named Jimmy Koppel. Jimmy’s mother has recently been arrested for killing his father and is about to be sent to the prison after confessing to the crime. No one doubts Jimmy’s mother had a reason to kill her abusive husband, but she’s been shown no compassion and her rights have been ignored in a town where the Koppel family has always been treated like trash. Ollie, who longs to be in one place more than a few days, convinces her parents to stay awhile longer to try to help Jimmy and his mother, both of whom could benefit from kindness. Tess Hilmo’s impressive debut novel defies stereotypes at every turn. Ollie’s devoutly religious family is genuine and believable, every member a distinct, well-developed character. Residents of Binder also emerge into full relief over the course of the deftly paced story. Hilmo’s portrait of family abuse, and of suspicion and small-mindedness and cruelty, is real, but so, too is the compassion she reveals in the hearts of many of her characters. What could have been an over-the-top spectacle in the hands of a less skilled writer is instead a down-to-earth, ultimately uplifting story. (Ages 10–13)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2012

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