At fourteen, Marley knows she has Momma's hands and Pops's love for ice cream, that her brother doesn't get on her nerves too much, and that Uncle Jack is a big mystery. But Marley doesn't know all she thinks she does, because she doesn't know the truth. And when the truth comes down with the rain one stormy summer afternoon, it changes everything. It turns Momma and Pops into liars. It makes her brother a stranger and Uncle Jack an even bigger mystery.
All of a sudden, Marley doesn't know who she is anymore and can only turn to the family she no longer trusts to find out.
Truth often brings change. Sometimes that change is for the good. Sometimes it isn't. Coretta Scott King award-winning author Angela Johnson writes a poignant novel of deception and self-discovery -- about finding the truth and knowing what to do when truth is at hand.
- Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers |
- 160 pages |
- ISBN 9781442403420 |
- January 2010 |
- Grades 7 and up |
- Lexile ® 790
Reading Group Guide
What happens when you discover that you aren't who you always thought you were? In this lyrical novel, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, fourteen-year-old Marley lives in a small Ohio town called Heaven. For Marley, it is nearly a paradise. She has parents who love her, friends who support her, and even a mysterious uncle who sends her the most wonderful notes. But her life is upended one day when a letter arrives from a little church in Alabama. Suddenly, in Marley's eyes anyway, Momma and Pops are liars, wandering Uncle Jack is a greater mystery than ever, and Marley is desperate to make sense of what it means to be a family. Sparely written and achingly felt, this richly acclaimed novel, as Booklist observes, "Makes us see the power of loving kindness."
- Marley lives in the town of Heaven, Ohio. What is heavenly about the place? What isn't? What mood does the author establish by choosing Heaven as the name for Marley's hometown and as the title for this novel? Would you want to live in Heaven, Ohio? Why or why not?
- Explore the character of Jack, the man Marley thought was her uncle. Why do you think he drifts around the country? Why does he always name his dogs "Boy"? What are his hopes? What are his fears?
- Unlike Jack, Bobby is raising his child by himself. Do you think he made a more responsible decision than Jack? Why or why not?
- Marley doesn't as