Out of the Dust
By Karen Hesse
Published 1997 by Scholastic, Inc.
So I only recently became a gigantic fan of verse novels, which means I missed this early entry into the style. Hesse is an incredibly well-regarded author and this book won the Newbery Medal. How I managed to neglect it for so long is a downright shame.
Billie Jo is a teenager living in Oklahoma. And everyday, she must survive the dust. That is not the only thing Billie Jo must learn to survive during the course of this beautiful and haunting novel. This book was excellent. Very gripping and heartwrenching. Hesse manages to pack quite a punch in this slim volume and it just highlights her strength as an author. I truly couldn't wait to find out how things would turn out for Billie Jo and her family. This is a character that I really wanted to root for. Additionally, this novel takes place in the 1930s, so Hesse has managed to combine two of my favorite things - verse novels and historical fiction - and she does it so beautifully. Billie Jo is such a wonderful heroine and narrator - she has an incredible voice and a strength that is to be admired. Highly recommended.