Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Battle Hymn of Stonewall Nix by Baker Lawley


The Battle Hymn of Stonewall Nix by Baker Lawley is the best YA novel that you can finally get !!!!

Lawley sat next to me at AP grading in June.  Since he grew up in Alabama, I started talking to him about the South and blues music and by the end of the week, he agreed to let me read his book that is targeted at young male readers - a demographic we agreed is underserved.  Protagonist Stonewall Nix is the son of a rabid Civil War demonstrator in the sleepy town of Pine Bough.  He and his best friend Clyde, an African American high school football star who also happens to play in the marching band, lazily contemplate the LCDs - lowest common denominators - of high school and the One More Reason's why life in their dying old lumber mill town sucks.  Then, just as the Board of Ed is getting ready to cut marching band from the curriculum, the new girl comes to town.  Motivated by teen lust, a shared love of, of all things, marching band and American history, and Sadie's red hair, Stoney decides to join his father's  reenactors for the first time to impress the girl.  Lawley' book embraces the awkwardness of high school, reaffirms the importance of having a sense of place, and, most importantly, is a love song to the blues.

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