Eli the Good by Silas House

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Bicentennial fireworks burn the sky. Bob Seger growls from a transistor radio. And down by the river, girls line up on lawn chairs in pursuit of the perfect tan. Yet for ten-year-old Eli Book, the summer of 1976 will go down as the one that threatened to tear his family apart. There is his beautiful and distant mother; his traumatized Vietnam vet dad; his wild and confused sister; his former war-protester aunt who moves in under mysterious circumstances; and his tough yet troubled best friend Edie, the only person with whom he can completely be himself. As tempers flare and his father’s nightmares rage, Eli watches from the sidelines, but soon even he cannot escape the current of conflict. From the award-winning Silas House comes a tender look at the complexities of childhood and the realities of war—a quintessentially Southern novel filled with music, nostalgic detail, a deep respect for nature, and the powerful sense of place that House is hailed for.

About Silas House

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Silas House is the nationally best-selling author of Eli the Good as well as the award-winning novels Clay's Quilt, A Parchment of Leaves, and The Coal Tattoo. He is an associate professor at Berea College and lives in eastern Kentucky. Neela Vaswani is the award-winning author of You Have Given Me a Country and Where the Long Grass Bends. Her work has received an American Book Award, an O. Henry Prize, and a ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award. She teaches at Spalding University's MFA in writing program and is the founder of the Storylines Project with the New York Public Library. Neela Vaswani lives in New York City.
Published March 12, 2010 by Candlewick. 306 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Young Adult, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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The summer of 1976 was when ten-year-old Eli Book first knew his father, when he “first saw the war inching its way beneath his skin, behind his eyes.” It was a summer destined for conflict, with his father home from Vietnam and suffering terrible nightmares that wrench him from his sleep and Eli...

Aug 15 2009 | Read Full Review of Eli the Good


Yet for ten-year-old Eli Book, the summer of 1976 is the one that threatens to tear his family apart.

Nov 09 2009 | Read Full Review of Eli the Good

Historical Novel Society

Eli’s best friend is the victim of a domestic war that leaves her devastated and almost inconsolable after Eli’s thoughtless betrayal of their bond.

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Still, he has created an evocative book that will give young readers a unique view into the one time and one place where the fictional Eli Book spent his 10th year.

Oct 06 2009 | Read Full Review of Eli the Good

ForeWord Reviews

The beech wasn’t an evergreen but was never alone, never without its leaves.” The characters in Eli the Good come alive, and one cannot help but feel emotionally connected to the people and events in this story.

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BG Daily News

In his Young Adult novel debut, Kentucky author Silas House has successfully written an insightful, provocative narrative about a young man who gains self-acceptance and finds hope in family and friends while coping with the traumatic effects of war on a family.

Sep 23 2009 | Read Full Review of Eli the Good

Buffalo Rising

In the year of America's Bicentennial, 10-year-old Eli Book sits at the base of his favorite tree, struggling to understand the complexities of a number of issues: his father's post-traumatic stress disorder;

May 06 2010 | Read Full Review of Eli the Good

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