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Carol Hanrahan

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Member Since: Mar, 2010

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Baling
by Carol Hanrahan   

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Category: 

Young Adult/Teen

Publisher:  Carol Hanrahan ISBN-10:  1442168374 Type: 
Pages: 

160

ISBN-13:  9781442168374
Fiction

Two brothers. One unforgettable summer.

Nick Lawson and his brother John have been dumped for the summer with their aunt, out in the middle of the country, to bale hay.

Not his idea of a great summer.

But then, he never could have predicted the adventures, dangers, and romance that would unfold around him in the
quiet countryside.

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In this heartwarming young adult novel, two teenage brothers, unwillingly sent to the country for a summer to bale hay, discover adventure, danger, and love all wrapped around a lost Civil War treasure mystery.

The last place Nick Lawson wants to be is out in the middle of the country with his little brother John, helping his Aunt Jess bale hay all summer long. After discovering a Civil War uniform in the attic with a key hidden in the jacket lining, the boys search for a treasure they believe was hidden years ago by their great-uncle. With the help of the neighboring dairy farmer?s daughter, Lainey, Nick finds adventure at every turn, when he barely escapes a tornado, gets into a fight at the county fair, almost burns up in an old chapel, explores a cave, and experiences a first kiss while swimming in the nearby creek.


Excerpt

Now Nokie was standing and almost climbing into Nick’s lap, licking him and whining.
“Nokie, get outta here.” He tried to push the dog away.
“What’d you do to him?” John asked, dropping the pile of letters in his lap.
“Crazy dog, I don’t --” he began.
“Hey, look outside,” John cut him off. “It’s kind of green out there.”
He leaned over and looked out the small window. They were high enough to have a good view of the countryside around them. All was still, but with an eerie greenness permeating the sky and clouds. A sudden crashing gust of wind hit the windowpane and the low clouds separated themselves from the higher ones, growing blacker. The rain began again in earnest, and as the wind picked up, its angle became more horizontal than vertical. The light in the ceiling sputtered and went dark.
“This is weird weather,” said John.
Trees bent from side to side, as though undecided if one way was better than another. Off to the west, a funnel cloud loosely formed, but as it reached for the ground, the ugly shape of it became precisely defined. Huge clouds of dust and debris were swept up into it, and it seemed to grow by the second.
By now, Nokie was barking and dancing around them.
Nick stared at the tornado, transfixed. Across two cornfields, it grew blacker, and the swirl of wind sucked everything up inside it. He was paralyzed. Why wasn’t it moving? Didn’t tornadoes move? With a sudden sickening in the pit of his stomach, he realized the twister was moving. It was heading directly at them.



Professional Reviews

Working Girl Review
It was a snowy weekend in my little corner of the world, and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend it than reading a story about long, lazy summer days in the country. “Baling” by Carol Hanrahan is a delightful coming of age story that chronicles one magical summer in the lives of two teenaged boys.

When Nick and his younger brother, John, find out they have to spend the summer at their Aunt Jess’ farm, helping out with the baling, they are not exactly overjoyed at the prospect. Especially Nick, the older of the two, who’d planned to spend his vacation watching movies, visiting Six Flags Theme Parks, and mostly, attending driving classes in the hope of obtaining his license. Nevertheless, they have little choice except to go along with the plan. From the day they arrive on the farm, life becomes one adventure after another, and they discover that a summer in the country may not be as dull as they’d first imagined. When the boys come across an old Civil War jacket and a packet of letters hidden away in their Aunt’s attic, they team up with Lainey Wallace, the beautiful neighbor girl, and go in search of hidden treasure. In the process, they encounter danger and uncover a family secret, and seventeen-year-old Nick discovers the magic of falling in love.

I really enjoyed this story. The author has a lovely talent for describing the joy of country living. Indeed, the writing was so vivid I could almost smell Aunt Jess’ chocolate cake baking in the oven, see the beauty of the starry night sky, and feel the soft whisper of the summer breeze. The story was very well paced, with a nice balance of action-packed scenes to keep the pages turning, and plenty of quiet moments where I could pause to savor the beauty of the landscape. The story is strong on family values, and is a refreshing reminder of life’s simple pleasures.

The storytelling was lovely, the plot, interesting, and the characters, likeable (if a bit underdeveloped.) All of this added up to a wonderful reading experience. I recommend “Baling” to anyone who enjoys heartwarming stories of life in the country.



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