Things on a Tree
D.L. Finn weaves an extraordinary tale that will entertain and wow middle graders and adults, a work of fine imagination and genius. It’s Christmas Eve and thirteen-year-old Aimee is alone in the house while the rest of the household plays outside because she is sick. Besides being ill, the little girl is nostalgic, missing her father who died a year ago in a car accident. She watches the Christmas tree while thinking of her Dad and Santa Claus then something extraordinary happens – she falls asleep and is woken up to a strange sound – a sound she thinks is made by her sister Kara. We come to find that it actually comes from the tree. Two tiny kittens run down her blanket towards the tree and it’s just the beginning of an adventure that will take her to places she’d never imagined – into both magic and danger. Things could have been different, except there is a promise to see her father again and a revelation that she’s the caretaker of the forest.
Things on a Tree might have been written for children, but it left me hugely entertained. D.L. Finn’s writing has a lot of merits. First off, she has a great skill for crafting compelling and rounded characters. Children will love Aimee infinitely and the author has done a wonderful job in describing the fears, the hopes, and the emotions that overpower children of Aimee’s age. The stream of consciousness is a style the author uses masterfully, allowing the reader to penetrate the mind of her protagonist and to have a feel of the psychological conflict taking place within her.
The writing is crisp and laced with vivid descriptions, painting a world in which fantasy and reality overlap, drawing readers in powerfully. The plot is gripping and the reader is hooked from the very first page. The growing sense of uncertainty in the protagonist only makes the story more enjoyable. I loved the symbolism in this beautiful work, and although the plot is highly entertaining, the author uses this seemingly fairy tale to deliver powerful messages about the importance of family and connectedness, the call of duty and responsibility, and the transcending power of love. This is an extraordinary Christmas story, a delight to book lovers, a very fun read.