Books in the Middle: Reading for Middle School

Our focus is on books middle school students might like to read and topics pertaining to books for these students, and we are giving recommendations. Teachers, librarians and middle school students are the contributors to this blog. If you would like to listen to booktalks of some of these books, please check out this site and enjoy!

Did She Take the Axe? February 21, 2016

Filed under: Historical Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 6:16 pm

imgresSo much mythology surrounds Lizzie Borden and whether she took an axe and killed her step-mother and father, or if she really was innocent as she was found at her trial. Hard to know when there was so little evidence presented, and not many suspects.

But could there have been someone else who knew more about the Borden household than the police uncovered? There was a house servant, named Bridget Sullivan, who was the only other person in and around the house the morning of the murders.

Sweet Madness by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie takes the perspective of Bridget and what it must have been like, living under the smothering, hostile environment of that house in the hot oppressive summer of 1892. Could Lizzie really have done it? Or was there someone else, or something else going on in the family other than Lizzie and her sister Emma’s obvious dislike for their parents.

Anyone who has ever heard the horrific rhyme concerning this murder will be drawn quickly into this book, and might just come away with a new idea about what might have happened all those years ago.

The one complaint about this book is there is no author’s note to help separate what is known from what the authors’ imagined with the Lizzie Borden case. However, it will just make the reader want to do their own research on one of the most brutal and compelling murder cases in American history.

Recommended for 8th grade and up.


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