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Customer Reviews for Tyndale House Fireflies in December, Calloway Summers Series #1

Tyndale House Fireflies in December, Calloway Summers Series #1

"The summer I turned thirteen, I thought I killed a man."

So begins the story of Jessilyn Lassiter, a young girl whose world is torn apart the summer of 1932. When Jessilyn's best friend, Gemma, loses her parents in a tragic fire, Jessilyn's father vows to care for her as his own, despite the fact that Gemma is black and prejudice is prevalent in their southern Virginia town.

It doesn't take long for the Lassiters to attract the attention of a local band of Ku Klux Klan members, who make increasingly violent threats on Jessilyn and her family.

As she struggles to navigate a complex world of first crushes, loyalties, and betrayals, Jessilyn ultimately discovers what it takes to be a bright light in a dark world.

Average Customer Rating:
5 out of 5
5
 out of 
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(16 Reviews) 16
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6 out of 6100%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for Fireflies in December, Calloway Summers Series #1
Review 1 for Fireflies in December, Calloway Summers Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Wonderful book

Date:December 17, 2013
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CathyRN
Location:Illinois
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This is the first book by Ms. Valent I have read and it is absolutely wonderful. This is a story of friendship, courage, and being a Christian during difficult times. When the parents of Jessilyn's friend Gemma, who is black, dies her father takes Gemma into their home. Not an easy thing to do in the 1930s South. Jessilyn learns first hand the destructive power of prejudice and hatred BUT also the power of forgiveness and living out one's Christian faith. Strongly recommend this novel to everyone. I am anxious to read the next 2 in this trilogy.
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Review 2 for Fireflies in December, Calloway Summers Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

beautifully written--can be used as a lesson

Date:January 14, 2013
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A Simply Enchanted Life
Location:North Carolina
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I wasn’t sure what I would think about this book. Seeing as it was set in the 30’s in the Deep South—I was honestly worried about the southern speech. Though I have lived in the South my entire life—I cannot stand to see books with a lot of stereotypical southern speech. This book did have a lot of southern slang and speech patterns but it was more in a speaking style rather than misspelling words to point out the southern accent. Therefore, I actually did enjoy reading this book. In this story we are taken back to a time of deep prejudice—a time when the Klan was in full power. I didn’t particularly enjoy some of the racial slurs used in the story because those slurs hurt me so deeply to read. I know it was necessary for the type of story but it still hurt me to feel such hatred based solely on skin color. This was a reality and I think books like this are important to remind us of the dark places we have been to in our history.
About the Story:
Jessilyn is a young girl that has just turned thirteen. Jessi and her parents have hired help that they treat more like family and when tragedy strikes—the Lassiter family is determined to do the right thing by offering a home to young Gemma. This strikes fury in the hearts of the local Klan members who start to harass young Jessi and her family. From burning crosses in their yard to killing their pets and making very serious threats—this family is in turmoil but refuses to back down to the racism that is prevalent in their home town. When young Jessilyn laments that she has no idea what God expects her to do, her father catches a firefly and teaches her a beautiful lesson from which the title of the book is taken.
"That light is bright enough to light up a little speck of the night sky so a man can see it a ways away. That’s what God expects us to do. We’re to be lights in the dark, cold days that are this world. Like fireflies in December.”
This is part one in a three-part story so while the story is concluded somewhat—we do not see the full set of trials that Jessi and her parents face while providing a home to a young “colored” girl. What we do see though is a final showing of love from both the white and black community as they pull together to support a man and his family that are determined to stand for what is right in a time when it could have cost him his life. Fireflies in December is a powerful story of acceptance and love that is told from the eyes of a thirteen year old girl who is coming to age in this very trying situation. I do wish that I could have seen more of the bond between Gemma and Jessi but that is a sacrifice you pay when you’re reading in first person. Otherwise I thought that while this book had some racial slurs (again, to show the situation of the day) and some violent themes—it was beautifully written and could be used as a way to talk to your young teen about racism and the hurt that it causes.
I received this book free from a fantastic program called Tyndale Rewards. I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts and opinions I have expressed are my own.
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Review 3 for Fireflies in December, Calloway Summers Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:March 2, 2011
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Irene
Location:United States
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This story is told through the eyes of a young girl, Jessilyn Lassiter. It takes place during the summer of her 13th birthday in the year 1932. Her family takes in the daughter of a black family that has died in a fire. The community reacts by ignoring the family, harassing them and even placing a burning cross in their yard.
This young girl learns some big life lessons. She learns that not everyone will agree with things you do and life is not fair. She also comes to realize that family is important and the love of a family is priceless.
It is a moving, believable and thought provoking story. Don’t let the heavy subject of racism turn you away from reading this book. Although you feel the sadness of the times, you also feel the innocence. It is well written, easy to follow and a definite Oprah’s Book Club contender. You will not want to put this book down!
I was given this book by christianreviewofbooks.com to review
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Review 4 for Fireflies in December, Calloway Summers Series #1
This review is fromFireflies in December - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:January 7, 2011
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nana
Location:Aragon, GA
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
This book was wonderful! The subject matter and the characters MADE this book. Thanks for having the book online, and Thank You! to the author.
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Review 5 for Fireflies in December, Calloway Summers Series #1
This review is fromFireflies in December - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

What a great book!

Date:January 7, 2011
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Bookworm
Location:Danville, IA
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This was one of the most entertaining books that I've read lately. It was great being able to read a book fit for children language-wise and still adult content-wise. I say there should be more of this type of books available, especially in ebook format.
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Review 6 for Fireflies in December, Calloway Summers Series #1
This review is fromFireflies in December - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Uplifting Story and a Great Read

Date:January 5, 2011
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Northstaar
Location:Rudyard, MI
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This story is a wonderful and touching account of a 13 year-old girl facing racism and the Ku Klux Klan for the first time in her life. Although a little scary at times, you will be inspired by the courage of Jessilyn and her family as they deal with prejudice in the South during the Great Depression.
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Review 7 for Fireflies in December, Calloway Summers Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:June 28, 2010
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Caleen Stankus
Loved this book! Read it in only two days; not the norm for me. I couldn't put it down. Always wondering, what in the world is that child, Jessilyn, going to get into next? She has obviously never heard that curiosity killed the cat. LOL Read it; you will enjoy it.
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Review 8 for Fireflies in December, Calloway Summers Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:June 12, 2010
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Ariana
This book was absolutely fantastic! I could not get my hands off of it. I finished Fireflies in December and Cottonwood Whispers in two days. Jennifer Erin Valent is just the author I'm looking for. I have so many favorite books but this just topped them. It takes an amazing time period and then adds in suspense, romance, friendships, and God. I love the title, the book, the everything! I CANNOT WAIT to see what Jennifer Valent writes next...and I am counting the days until Catching Moondrops comes out. Thanks for the wonderful read!
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Review 9 for Fireflies in December, Calloway Summers Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:March 20, 2009
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Loretta Horst
Altho this was a fiction - the author did a great job in portraying what actually happened in too many cases. Made me think and be thankful for my upbringing which did not include any of the horrors of this story.
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Review 10 for Fireflies in December, Calloway Summers Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:March 11, 2009
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Eva Marie Everson
Color me "amazed." But I knew from the first word of this novel that I would be hooked until I read the last. I knew that my own writing would somehow take second place to the reading of someone else's. I knew I'd found a part of the South -- my own heritage -- that I stand proud in the shadow of and that causes me to hang my head in shame. I had a few questions along the way, however. For one, even though Gemma had no biological family left, why wouldn't someone of "color" come forward to take her in? While I understand why the "whites" in town were upset with the Lassiter's decision to raise Gemma, why weren't the "coloreds?" (Remember, I grew up in the South, too, and I know both sides of this card.)But even with the questions, I was reminded of my family heritage, rich in reaching across race lines. Many, many years ago my great uncle and great aunt "took in" a black child who was severely burned (my great-uncle was the physician who treated him) and whose family had rejected him because of his "pink" skin. NFL great George Rogers was practically a member of my 2nd cousins family. For those memories alone, this book was valuable to me.One other issue I had was that I was not fully aware of the era until about 1/3 way through the book. I may have missed the clues before that ... I began this book on an airplane with lots of little kids anxious to get to Disney! So, take that issue with a grain of salt.Bottom line: do I recommend this to other readers??? Only those I really, really like!!! :) I LOVE THIS BOOK! And I cannot wait to see what comes next from Jennifer Erin Valent!Eva Marie Everson
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Review 11 for Fireflies in December, Calloway Summers Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:February 12, 2009
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ginny
best book ever it is a very quick read it describes the 1930s perfectly yaaay
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Review 12 for Fireflies in December, Calloway Summers Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:January 11, 2009
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Jessica
Jennifer Valent did a great job at creating great characters, a wonderful plot and thought provoking themes. This little firefly wants to shine bright right along side the rest of them. Captivating!
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Review 13 for Fireflies in December, Calloway Summers Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:January 7, 2009
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Ginger Tate
Fireflies in December is an exceptional read! The author, Jennifer Erin Valent, writes with a southern literature accent that takes you to the center of what is being said in the novel. The story starts in the summer of 1932 when she, Jessilyn Lassiter, thought she had killed a man. Then her best friend loses her parents in a tragic fire. Since the friend had no parents, Jessilyns father vowed to raise Gemma as if she was his own. The only problem was one child was white and the other black. Fireflies in December covers injustice, riots, peaceful friendships, tragedy, sense of community and memories of an era that has long past. This is a book that I feel all teenagers should read. They would never look at prejudice the same again.
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Review 14 for Fireflies in December, Calloway Summers Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:December 27, 2008
WOW!"Fireflies in December" by Jennifer Erin Valent is filled with memorable moments. Some as sweet as Southern iced tea, others as heavy and uncomforatble as a summer afternoon without a breeze! This book is a subtly delivered and poignant look at racial prejudice and Christian character that dares to stand against it.Jennifer Erin Valent is a fresh voice with a smooth, Southern lilt. She illuminates this dark season of America's past with hope and Christian love as she tells the story of two young girls (one white, one black) and their friendship and reliance on each other after tragedy strikes in this turbulent time. A brilliant supporting cast of characters lends to the sense of community as well as the unease and turbulence of the era.The reader is also transported in time and place through the charming expressions employed by the author. This novel could easily become a beloved piece of modern literature, and should take its deserved place on the required reading list of every high school in America.From injustice to riots to peaceful friendships enjoyed by neighbors who share everything (including kittens), Jennifer Erin Valent captures bittersweet memories of bygone (and not so bygone) days. This is an exceptional read!
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Review 15 for Fireflies in December, Calloway Summers Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:October 4, 2008
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Cristi
The Lassiter family faces deep-seeded prejudice in this coming of age story. Despite the dangers, the Lassiter's are determined to do what's right in the eyes of God. As the author so adeptly writes, "That's what God expects us to do. We're to be lights in the dark, cold days that are this world. Like fireflies in December." "Fireflies in December" is a great debut novel. The opening line grabs your attention and the compelling story line keeps you engaged until the very end. Fireflies will appeal to both teens and adults alike. Whether youre already a fan of historical fiction or youre new to this type of novel, you wont be disappointed!
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Review 16 for Fireflies in December, Calloway Summers Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:October 3, 2008
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Ethan M.
Im very glad I got the opportunity to read this book. I did this by getting my hands on an advanced readers copy. Jennifer gained the opportunity to publish her book by accomplishing the feat of winning the Christian Writers Guild 2007 Operation First Novel contest. Get ready for her first ever released novel, Fireflies in December. The book was charming and very pleasurable to read, and you are about to find out why. Set in the year 1932, Fireflies in December focuses on a 13 year old named Jessilyn Lassiter. When her best friend, a black girl named Gemma Teague, loses her parents in a fire, Mr. Lassiter vows to take Gemma in. Unfortunately, the people of the southern Virginia town are seemingly appalled by the fact that a white family would take in a black child. This results in much rejection and hatred toward the Lassiters. To make matters worse, a secret group of members from the Ku Klux Klan take increasingly serious threats toward the Lassiter family. The characters of the book are extremely well done, and youll almost be able to see them interact right before your eyes. The details are just right; not so prevalent that they become repetitive and boring, but prevalent and vivid enough so that they draw you right in to the story. The plot is very well done, and Im sure that if you like a good fiction book with action and humor, you will enjoy the story. These three vital elements together make for a story like no other.
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