New Addition: Young Adult Worth Reading

Update: we’ve drawn (and notified) the winners of our first YA fiction giveaway. Jen is the lucky recipient of Cathy Gohlke’s novels, and Angel will receive both of Nicole O’Dell’s. Congratulations, ladies! We hope you visit again soon.

Over the last few months we’ve heard from dozens of readers, eager to find books appropriate for their daughters, nieces, and granddaughters. Once a month we will profile a young adult novel that we consider worth reading.

And to help us out in that venture is a new member the She Reads team: author Nicole O’Dell. Please give her a warm welcome:

nicole o'dellHi! I’m Nicole O’Dell, the newest addition to the She Reads book-review team. I’m also an author, a mom of six (including 18-month-old triplets), a youth leader and a full-time student.   Don’t ask! Trying to explain it all usually sends me to a rubber room for a day and a half–minimum.

I have a passion for teens and write my books centered on the choices they’re faced with as they mature. Reading about teens and what they’re interested in helps me stay in touch with the different facets of their needs. I’m thrilled to be able to combine those passions into reviewing young adult books here at She Reads!

This month, I’m pleased to present the first and second books in Cathy Gohlke’s Civil War series.   Have you read either of these books, yet? They are amazing. Her debut, William Henry is a Fine Name, won a Christy Award in 2007. Just two years later, its stand-alone sequel, I have Seen Him in the Watchfires, won another Christy Award!

It is 1859, and thirteen-year-old Robert is torn between loyalty to his abolitionist father and his mother’s slave-holding family. 400000000000000106210_s4

After his best friend, William Henry, is trapped in a deadly scheme to protect secrets of the Underground Railroad, Robert vows never to get involved again.   But when he discovers his grandfather’s plan to sell his own son, born of a slave woman, Robert must decide whether to stand idly by or risk everything to help him escape.

William Henry is a Fine Name is a coming-of-age story, a tale of friends–and a nation–caught in the chaos of slavery, forced to take a stand.

William Henry is a Fine Name is heartfelt account of a 13-year-old boy, Robert, coming face-to-face with prejudice, war and slavery. Living in the pre-Civil War South, Robert is forced to deal with his own confusion in the chaos all around him. His parents are at odds–his father is involved in the Underground Railroad, and his mother is strongly pitted against abolition–so Robert must decide for himself. Examining slavery and the consequences of prejudice through the eyes and experiences of his black best friend, William Henry, Robert realizes he must do something.

This debut novel by Cathy Gohlke is masterfully written–I  know these characters; they’re still with me weeks later. When I put this book down after reading it, I couldn’t imagine that I’d like the sequel as well. I was wrong.

christy_award-125As Civil War rends his family and the nation, seventeen-year-old Robert is eager to fight for God and the Union, to put teeth in President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.   But first he must find a way to rescue his estranged mother, and cousin, Emily, living behind enemy lines.

Caught in a prison escape, left for dead, and tried as a spy, Robert finds himself on the run from both armies and ill prepared for the atrocities endured by his family in hiding.

I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires reveals Robert’s struggle to find God, his place, and the will to survive a war he no longer understands.

25854728I have Seen Him in the Watchfires, the second book in the Civil War series, finds young Robert on the brink of manhood at 17. His mother is ill; his father is off fighting for the Union–it’s all up to Robert now. Lines are blurred between right and wrong, family and enemy, God and country.

After an elaborate escape plot and a storyline fraught with danger, intrigue and accusation, Robert becomes a suspected Confederate spy and is on the run. He learns about trust and faith while battling his own regret and fear.

I offer my sincerest congratulations to the author on both of her Christy wins and her masterful successes with these books, which appeal to all audiences. These may be considered YA, but they truly span the generations with their historical appeal, gripping plot and vibrant characters.

Be sure to visit Cathy Gohlke’s website. She offers discussion questions for her books as well as photographs that depict some of the inspirations for her scenes.

I’m happy to be able to offer a giveaway of a set of these award-winning books to a She Reads reader! Just   leave a comment on this post. Also, since this is my first visit here, I’d like to offer a set of my first two books, Truth or Dare and All that Glitters, as a second-place prize.


Nicole O’Dell

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About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS (2014), FLIGHT OF DREAMS (2016), and I WAS ANASTASIA (2018). Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, and Book of the Month Club selections. She is the co-founder of and lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her family.

43 Responses to New Addition: Young Adult Worth Reading

  1. Julia February 24, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    Please enter me. I would love to read these aloud to my kids and am quite interested in reading them myself.


  2. LindyLou February 24, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    I’m so glad i stopped by here today. I have a preteen granddaughter who enjoys reading and especially likes history. These books should be great reading for her. I am always on the lookout for good reading for my 15 yo granddaughter. I will be checking out yours. Thanks for the giveaways. Have a great day!

  3. Ann February 24, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    As a homeschooling family, we are always looking for compelling historical fiction for the kids to read. Thanks for this review. If we don’t win free copies, we’ll have to go out and buy these books.

  4. Cathy Gohlke February 24, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    Thank you, Nicole, for the wonderful book reviews! These books are stories of my heart, born in my childhood. I hope your readers enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them!

  5. catherine February 24, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    I would love to have these books for my son. I thin it would encourage him to read. I am excited!

  6. Kelly Willie February 24, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    I would love to be entered in this drawing. I have a grandaughter and a grandson about he right age and both love to read! They are both honor students in their school and my grandaughter won the “Governors Award” for her excellent grades. I contribute a lot of this to their desire to read. We always buy them books for birthday’s and Christmas and often it is difficult to choose. You sound like a wonderful author! Best wishes in your career! Blessings~ Kelly

  7. Linda February 24, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    Please enter me in the drawing! I would love to win a set of books.

    Thank you!

  8. Kelly Willie February 24, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    Correct to my post! I meant to write you sound like a wonderful Mother (since you aren’t the author)! My fingers were working faster than my brain!

  9. Linnea Ransom February 24, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    Wow! Both books look like great reads!

  10. Angel February 24, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    I would love to have these books for myself and my daughter to read. She loves to read books, and so do I.

  11. Kathy February 24, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    As a Civil War buff I would enjoy reading these books and passing them on to my granddaughter who is a pre-teen (age 12) and might be to her interest. Your blog is very interesting and hope to enjoy your insights on writing.

  12. Judy Dudley February 24, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    I’d love to read these books and I’m sure my daughters would like them as well! Thanks for the chance to win!

  13. Lisa Muniz February 24, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    I would love to share these two books with my 11 year old son & 10 year old daughter. I think it will open their eyes to the history they’re learning in school and make it even more real. Just in case, I will be putting these books on my wish list to purchase should some other deserving reader win them. Have a blessed day!

  14. Natalie February 24, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    I love to read and so does my daughter. These sound fabulous. I would love to read them, and pass them on to my daughter, neice & others 🙂

  15. Deb Kinney February 24, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    Thank you for the wonderful review of Cathy’s books. Please enter me in the drawing for her books. Having recently finished reading March, by Geraldine Brooks, I am interested in reading more stories concerning the moral dilemmas faced by ordinary folks of that era. I also have grandchildren who are avid readers and would enjoy these stories as well.

  16. Laura Robertson February 24, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    My oldest son would love tthese books. They might even be a good option for the school library! Look forward to reading them with him.

  17. Bev Knudsen February 24, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    These books sound like something the upper grade students in our school would enjoy. Thanks for the wonderful reviews!

  18. Natalie Walters February 24, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    I am so excited for these books. Getting our children to put down the remote or gaming device in lieu of literature is a real task and I am thankful for the recommendations. I would love to be entered into the drawing and can’t wait to read these along side my teenager!!

  19. PatriciaW February 24, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    Nicole, good to see you here. You have such a heart for teens, you’ll do an excellent job and your reviews will be trusted by those who need them most. I’m always on the look out for YA reads for my son.

  20. Michele Weltz February 24, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    This is great! I have been looking for a Historical Fiction for my daughter to read as she usually tends to grab the “gossip” type books and since I homeschool her I can “make her” read these and she will actually end up liking them! (previous history as evidence) 😉

  21. Tracy February 24, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    These selections sound great! I am very grateful to have book reviews for teens/young adult readers. My teenage daughter loves to read, especially pre/post Civil war and historical fiction. This would be a blessing to be chosen! Thanks for this opportunity!

  22. Carrie Turansky February 24, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    Oh, I’m so excited to see you reviewing these books by Cathy Gohlke! They are both wonderful and will be enjoyed by young adults and their parents. The characters will stay with you long after you turn the last page.

  23. JJ Hawkins February 24, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    Love this! Please enter me in the giveaway!

  24. april February 24, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    sounds like another awesome new author to add to my reading list!!!

  25. Barbara Miller February 25, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    I read both of these and although I’m not a ‘young adult’ by any means , I loved both of them!!!

  26. Marcia Spath February 25, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    I am always looking for great ideas for books to add to the school library. These sound like they would really fill some holes in the collection that we have. Thanks for adding this to She Reads.

  27. Nicole O'Dell February 25, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    Thank you all so much for the wonderful comments. I’m so glad you’re excited about the YA addition to SheReads!

    Keep entering to win! Random drawings soon.

  28. Linda February 25, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    Please enter me in the book giveaway!!
    Thanks so much,

  29. T Parker February 27, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    Wow, I love the synopsis of your books! I am a middle school teacher, and always looking for books to suggest to my students. (I teach Literature and U.S. History). I think that reading your books would connect the students to the Civil War even more. I wouldn’t mind reading them myself. THANK YOU!

  30. imoomie February 27, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    Nice to meet you, what a great addition to She Reads!

    Thanks for the recommendation, they look like great books!

  31. karen k February 28, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    please enter me in your drawing…thanks.

  32. Jen March 1, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    I’m so glad to find this site again! Our American history studies are bringing us ever closer to studying Civil War. I’ll look for these books for our family of voracious readers if someone else is blessed with the free ones.

  33. jodie pentak March 1, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    I am so excited to introduce these books to my 12 1/2 year old son. He LOVES to read and LOVES history! I am also thankful to be able to come to this site and get solid reviews on books that will help broaden his scope.

  34. Melissa March 1, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    Please enter me in the drawing. I am a history lover and have always been especially interested in the Civil War period of our history. Thanks for the great reviews.

  35. Kelly Jo March 1, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    These look like wonderful books to read with my 16 year old daughter. We live in seperate states and this is one was we keep close-book reading and reviews!

  36. Christie Prater March 1, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    My daughter would love these historical fiction books. Shoe loves to read, and is always looking for a good book. Please enter us in the give away. Thanks!

  37. Claire Destounis March 1, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    Wow, I was riveted by the stories and can’t wait to read them. We are all history buffs in my family, My daughter being a high school history teacher would especially love these books and my 17 yr old soon could also relate to the characters.
    Please enter my name in the draw.
    thank you

  38. Linda Stott March 1, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    I am glad I stopped by today. Please enter my name for the books. I have two granddaughters that would love to read these books, that is, after their “Nana” gets through reading them. They both have inherited my love for reading.

    Again, thank you for putting these materials out there for us. Keep up the good work of finding good books to read.

  39. Donna LeFrancois March 1, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    Please enter my name in the drawing for these books. I am constantly on the lookout for good books for my two grandsons, almost 13 and 16 to read. One loves to read and the other has to be hogtied to a book. These books sound like they would interest them both (as well as myself and I’m 67) Thank you for the great reviews.

  40. Rachel March 1, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    I am new to this site, just found it today! Love it! Please enter me in the draw for the books. I would love to share them with my 13 year old niece.
    With a passion to read books over watching tv I am always looking for more to read. I will also be checking our local library for your books.

    Thank you, Rachel

  41. Debbie Thorkildsen March 2, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    Hi, please enter me in the draw. I love to read. Thanks.

  42. Dianne Stakes March 2, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    I can’t believe I found this wonderful website. I’m a retired grandmother living in the North Georgia Mountains. Actually snow is falling right this very minute. As I was watching it fall out my picture window, tears filled my eyes not because of sadness but because of where God has me living at this period of my life. I turned to my computer to look up some Bible Study website and WOW I found Proverbs 31 Ministries.Thank you!! I read a lot since I don’t have a T.V. Please enter me in your drawing for the books that you gave such great reviews on.
    God Bless your heart.

  43. Dawn March 2, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    Last night while at the public library I was looking in the Christian section, seeing who and what was there, what was new, who I haven’t read…..and I picked up Cathy’s, I have seen him….book. Sounds like a great story. I haven’t started reading it yet but will soon. I always enjoy finding new authors.

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