Last in a Long Line of Rebels by Lisa Lewis Tyre
Review by Lauren
Source: copy sent for review from TLC Book Tours; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: Lou might be only twelve, but she’s never been one to take things sitting down. So when her Civil War-era house is about to be condemned, she’s determined to save it—either by getting it deemed a historic landmark or by finding the stash of gold rumored to be hidden nearby during the war. As Lou digs into the past, her eyes are opened when she finds that her ancestors ran the gamut of slave owners, renegades, thieves and abolitionists. Meanwhile, some incidents in her town show her that many Civil War era prejudices still survive and that the past can keep repeating itself if we let it. Digging into her past shows Lou that it’s never too late to fight injustice, and she starts to see the real value of understanding and exploring her roots.
Review: I was excited to be asked to read and review Last in a Long Line of Rebels for the TLC Book Tours. I really enjoy Middle Grade novels but I need to find more to read. Tyre's novel was full of adventure and history. It's definitely something I could see people of all ages reading and enjoying.
Lou is 12 years old and desperate to save her house, when she overhears her parents talking about possibly losing it. Except it's even more than that. Lou's city wants to tear down the house, so that this building which had been in her family for over 100 years would no longer exist. Lou turns to her friends, Franklin and Benzer, and cousin, Patty, to help her figure out how to save it.
Franklin, the smart one of the group, thinks that the house would be saved if it could be put on the historical register's list, but they also hear a rumor about one of Lou's ancestors, Walter Mayhew, stealing gold and hiding it. If they could either get the house seen as a historical landmark or find the missing gold, Lou and friends are sure they can save the house that is home to her parents, her grandmother, and her soon-to-be baby sibling.
Lou is a great character! She doesn't always do the right thing but she always has her heart in the right place. More than anything, she wants to save the house she grew up in and not have to move away from her friends and extended family. While trying to figure out how to save her home, Lou realizes that there is more about her family history she never knew. She's not happy about everything she learns - her family had slaves, Walter may have murdered a friend - but she realizes that remembering one's history is always important.
There are some other side-stories that go along with the main plot, which I really enjoyed. Lou's mother is pregnant and expecting through most of the book. Lou's father has a teen employee named Isaac who is not given a scholarship to play football in college and many believe it's only because he's black, since he's a great player. Isaac wants to get back at the coach that sealed his fate, but will he go too far? Will he end up at the college of his dreams or learning to settle for what he can? I really loved Isaac too. He treats Lou like an equal, even though she's younger. He has a hard time with some people but he's a great person and a tough worker and he hope things will work out for him.
Overall, Last in a Long Line of Rebels is a fun, adventurous story! It's full of history, mysteries, friendship, and more!
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This book is being linked up for the Unique Formatting Book Challenge. Each chapter in this book starts with a diary entry from Louise Duncan Mayhew (Lou's ancestor from the Civil War era and namesake). As the book goes on, you get more entries from Louise, which helps bring the past to the present.