THE DARKNESS UNDER THE WATER by Beth Kanell

THE DARKNESS UNDER THE WATER

Age Range: 14 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A darkly atmospheric depiction of a girl, half Abenaki Indian and half French-Canadian, who comes of age in the midst of the Vermont Eugenics movement. Her family life is tinged with sadness; Molly Ballou’s sister drowned many years ago, and her mother never fully recovered from the loss. Now on the cusp of womanhood, Molly is faced with difficult choices: Should she stay with her family or leave to attend school to become a teacher? Faced with the difficulty of hiding her Abenaki roots and with discrimination toward her French-Canadian appearance, Molly feels further conflicted; even the boy she likes is Abenaki, leaving her hesitant to admit her feelings. After her mother finds herself newly pregnant and subsequently suffers an egregious tragedy, Molly must confront the reality of the times and make her first adult decisions. Gracefully composed, Molly’s experiences provide a personal perspective of a grim episode in American history. Kanell focuses on the Eugenics Project as it relates to the Ballou family, though she does make brief mention of this movement’s overall impact in a note. (Historical fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3719-4
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2008