Quaking by Kathryn Erskine


5 Stars - "Feel good" book done right


     A new home for Matt was no big deal.  She'd been bounced around since the age of five from home to home after her mother died.  Maybe died wasn't even the right word.  She had been murdered by Matt's own abusive, alcoholic father.  Matt not only witnessed the beatings, she experienced her father's cruelty firsthand.


No reason to dwell, Matt thought. She was tough, right?  Just look at her appearance:  the piercings, dyed jet-black spiky hair, heavy combat booths...she looked like a freak, a goth, an emo kid.  Whatever - it worked.  It kept people away...that is until she moved in Jessica and Sam.


Living with a family of Quakers?  God had a pretty odd sense of humor, Matt thought.  Not to mention the other foster kid - drooling, "developmentally challenged," icky, and annoying...Matt just needed to graduate, keep quiet, and then move to Canada where she could be legally emancipated.


Jessica and Sam pretty much forced Matt to attend the Quaker meetings.  LIke she'd rather stay at home and babysit the blob?  Truth was, the meetings were not so bad, though.  They just sat there....meditating in their own thoughts....while sharing any feelings or experiences if they felt like it.  Rather than being super-religious, the members just seemed to want to create a better world, to be kind to others, and to promote peace.  Considering the violence Matt experienced growing up, she could live with those concepts.


Unfortunately, everyone around Matt doesn't want peace.  Her Western Civilization teacher Mr. Warhead, as Matt called him, was a war fanatic.  He quickly decided to target Matt due to her anti-fighting, anti-war beliefs.  The school bully soon joins in - making Matt's life a living hell at school.


Matt just wants to be invisible to everyone.  Jessica and Sam refuse to let that happen.  They continued to include Matt, considered her their daughter, talked to her about their own lives, and treated her with kindness, love, and respect.  Matt is shocked to discover she actually likes living with them, and for the first time, she is really part of family.  Will Matt be able to hold onto her happiness?


Some of the radical townspeople believed that the Quakers were anti-American and needed to be taught a lesson concerning what it meant to be patriotic and a "good American."  The only way to prove their point was to shut down their meeting place, wiping out some of the members and leaders in the process.


 Matt knows she has to stop the violence - despite her quaking fear of being hurt again and getting hit.  This time she wasn't going to lose the family she had grown to love.


Touching story which made me cry - more than once~!