Empty Places

Written by Kathy Cannon Weichman

Adabel Cutler is a feisty but confused thirteen-year-old living in Depression-era Kentucky. Her father is a coal miner addicted to moonshine, which brings out his personal demons and his anger. The entire community of Harlan County has fallen on hard times where every family lives a hard-scrabble existence caught up in the horror that is the Great Depression. The four Cutler siblings fight to survive a life filled with poverty and abuse, but Adabel struggles the most. She has no memory of the mother who mysteriously left her young family one day never to return, an event that sent her father into a never-ending downward spiral. After a horrific family fight that leaves the family even more fractured, Adabel sets out to unravel the dark family secrets that have destroyed her family. This is a powerful coming-of-age story that is both heart-breaking and heart-warming. The author has created an unforgettable and inspiring character in young Adabel, someone to root for and one that will be hard to forget. Although some of the situations in the story line are harsh and unforgiving, the reality of life in a depressed coal-mining town in 1932 America rings true and touches the reader. I recommend this book for ages 12 and up.

Review by Lynda H. Wilson, David Gourley Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: 6th Grade and Up

Empty Places
Written by Kathy Cannon Weichman
Calkins Creek, an imprint of Highlights
239 pages
Release Date: April 5, 2016
A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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