HARMONY by Rita Murphy
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 11 & up
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Harmony McClean’s life is like the Tennessee mountain cabin she lives in: “never entirely finished and always in the process of becoming something else.” She can lie down in her backyard and touch Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia all at the same time, but readers soon realize her reach extends even further. She has powers that connect her to the trees, the stars, and the universe. Harmony, in fact, arrived in the Hamlin Mountains when a falling star landed in Felix McGuillicuddy’s wife’s chicken coop. Felix found Harmony, “naked and crowing louder than a rooster,” next to the star. Now 14, Harmony realizes her powers. She can make things happen just by thinking about them: set the table or start a fire in the fireplace. She sets off smoke detectors, blows up microwaves, and short-circuits vacuum cleaners just by walking by. But how should she handle such powers—hide them and fit into her community or embrace them and risk being different? Murphy (Black Angels, 2001, etc.) has created a magical story written with a light, lyrical touch, always rooted in the particulars of the mountain setting. Readers will accept the premise and care about Harmony because she seems real, as real and mysterious as the stars. By the end, she finds harmony and accepts herself and her gifts, using them to help a dying woman, protect her forest from a lumber company, and release a coyote from a steel trap. Harmony has come to realize the importance of having the courage “to live the life you were born to live.” (Fiction. 11+)

Pub Date: Oct. 8th, 2002
ISBN: 0-385-72938-3
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2002


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