Anderson, Jodi Lynn
Anderson, Jodi Lynn
Writer. Formerly worked for 17th Street Publications, New York, NY.
Peaches (novel), HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2005.
The Secrets of Peaches (novel), HarperTempest (New York, NY), 2007.
"MAY BIRD" SERIES; FOR YOUNG READERS
May Bird and the Ever After, illustrated by Leonid Gore, Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2005.
May Bird among the Stars, illustrated by Leonid Gore, Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2006.
May Bird and the Bridge of Souls, Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2007.
Author Jodi Lynn Anderson moved from Atlanta, Georgia, to Costa Rica. The move took her away from her favorite foods, including Georgia peaches, peach pie, and peach ice cream. This fondness inspired two of her novels, both set in a peach orchard.
In Peaches, three girls come together in the Darlington Georgia Peach Orchard to pick the sweet fruit in the summer before their last year of high school. The shy and sheltered Birdie, gorgeous and well-to-do Leeda, and the adventurous Murphy bond together, forming an unlikely friendship. Throughout the summer they learn to overcome family problems and difficulties in love. Gillian Engberg, a contributor to Booklist, wrote that by using "vivid descriptions," Anderson created a story that is "a charming, breezy choice for strong and reluctant readers alike." In a Kliatt review, Stephanie Squicciarini added that the story is "surprisingly strong in its sparse dialogue." A contributor to Publishers Weekly concluded that Peaches "encapsulates the state of ennui and anticipation that accompanies the last stretch of adolescence."
In the sequel, The Secrets of Peaches, Birdie, Leeda, and Murphy begin their final year of high school. Birdie is upset that her boyfriend has returned to Mexico, Murphy refuses to confess her love to her boyfriend despite trying to bring him with her to New York, and Leeda is unable to overcome her difficult relationship with her mother. Reading the first book is not required to understand this continuation of the three girls' stories. In a Kliatt review, Squicciarini complimented the author's balance, commenting that "Anderson has drawn characters who are strong but also vulnerable." In a School Library Journal review, Daisy Porter noted that "the novel is well paced and resolves the interwoven story lines tidily but authentically."
Another of Anderson's series begins with the 2005 novel May Bird and the Ever After. Outcast ten-year-old May and her hairless cat, Somber Kitty, fall into a lake and enter the Ever After, a sort of bedroom community for ghosts who work on Earth, haunting certain houses or looking over individuals. May and Somber Kitty also face dangers from the likes of the Bogeyman, unfriendly specters, and Evil Bo Cleevil, who is bent on conquering the world. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews described the book as "a vividly envisioned setting that's equal parts terror and tongue-in-cheek." Tasha Saecker, however, in a School Library Journal review, lamented that "the setting of the book is confusing." In a separate School Library Journal review, Charli Osborne noted that after a slow start, once May enters the Ever After, "there is non-stop action and many gruesome and terrifying apparitions, making this a good choice" to read.
May Bird among the Stars finds May and Somber Kitty stuck in the Ever After and traveling to the Far North, where they hope to find the Lady of the North Farm and their way back home. May and her friends are pursued by the bogeyman and his legions and she learns that she is the only one who can save the Ever After from Evil Bo Cleevil. Krista Hutley, writing in Booklist, remarked that Anderson's "readable novel gives kids a cast of likable characters and a quirky world to explore." Tim Wadham commented in the School Library Journal that "readers will love her humorous jabs at popular culture."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, October 1, 2005, Gillian Engberg, review of Peaches, p. 47; October 15, 2005, Chris Sherman, review of May Bird and the Ever After, p. 48; December 1, 2006, Krista Hutley, review of May Bird among the Stars, p. 44.
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2005, review of May Bird and the Ever After, p. 1019; September 15, 2006, review of May Bird among the Stars, p. 945.
Kliatt, November, 2006, Stephanie Squicciarini, review of Peaches, p. 17; January, 2007, Stephanie Squicciarini, review of The Secrets of Peaches, p. 6.
Publishers Weekly, August, 8, 2005, review of Peaches, p. 236.
School Library Journal, August, 2005, Angela M. Boccuzzi-Reichert, review of Peaches, p. 121; November, 2005, Tasha Saecker, review of May Bird and the Ever After, p. 136; February, 2006, Charli Osborne, review of May Bird and the Ever After, p. 75; November, 2006, Tim Wadham, review of May Bird among the Stars, p. 129; January, 2007, Daisy Porter, review of The Secrets of Peaches, p. 123.
Romantic Times,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (March 19, 2007), Taylor Morris, review of Peaches.