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Fireflies: A Tale of Life and Death (Heroes Next Door Series Book 1) by [Wolf, Bree]
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Fireflies: A Tale of Life and Death (Heroes Next Door Series Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in Heroes Next Door Trilogy (3 Book Series)

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 573 KB
  • Print Length: 148 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1540350584
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Bree Wolf (4 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FJ7S3OY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #12,183 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Gabriel is virtually ignored at home in New York, and spends most of his time inside video games. When his parents ship him out to stay with his grandparents in the country for a ‘couple of weeks’ he is completely at a loss – no internet, no games, nothing. Gradually he discovers he can go outside, which leads to meeting people. Fortunately there is a treasure hunt set up by the school’s seniors to give kids a challenge over the summer vacation, and he finds his more cerebral ways helpful when it comes to solving clues. He teams up with some other kids, all of them slight misfits, even if the others do live there, and unravels the mystery of the haunted house… which brings both joy and sorrow, and was so beautifully written that it even had me in tears!

It’s a book that gave our on-line reading group a huge range of responses. I found it read well, the kids were believable in their own ways, and didn’t notice any particular dialogue difficulties, unlike other members of the group. I wondered whether people expected all the kids to speak in the way their own did, or whether there is a ‘standard US kid speak’ outside which kids who copy their elders’ speech patterns are thought to be peculiar. Maybe I read it in a different accent – which is certainly the case. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and the writing, which risked getting mawkish at times, but managed not to turn me off, which was a great feat!

It’s a lovely story, which risks being one of those ‘misfit finds friendship’ tropes, but pulls out with powerful writing and keen visualisation. I could certainly feel the heat, see the river and the woods, and the potential for adventure. Hannah’s adventure is particularly well handled.
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Format: Kindle Edition
A classic children's summer adventure.
Easy to read, and with engaging characters, Bree Wolf guides the young reader through the trials and tribulations of a young boy's summer of self-discovery.
The plot is interesting, and full of fun, but the story also presents more serious issues with a sensitivity suitable for the younger reader.
I would have loved to read this, as a child, and I would highly recommend it.
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Format: Kindle Edition
A touching and moving story told with insight and flare by an author who is coming into her own. It is part adventure, part coming of age drama; and with a great ensemble cast of characters! (Go and discover them for yourselves!) If you like your fiction well grounded and in a familiar world you can truly identify with, then you’ll love this. A highly enjoyable and a rewarding read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bittersweet story great that there is a follow-up to it
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars missing a bit 19 April 2016
By timothy learn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Prose
I’ve now caught onto the trend—that is the trend in most of the self-published works I review—and Fireflies is no different…sadly. With most books of this fashion, the author has a bit of talent with words and strings lines together decently, sometimes very well. This author, too, exemplifies this.

Even in broad daylight the house seemed haunted. Most of the paint was peeled off, giving the wood a run-down impression. Bushes and trees, not to mention the lawn, grew in wild abundance. They hadn’t seen shears or a lawn mower in years.

She gives us what any good writer should: details. She paints a picture…and then things go awry. The fault in a lot of indie works is not necessarily the moments of description, but dialog. Here, too, I find it difficult to believe any child, no matter what age, consistently speaks like these kids do.

“She told me she would die.”
“That’s not true. You understood her wrong.”

I don’t know how, but it feels scripted or what someone would expect another person to say without delving into the emotions of another…or at times, it was just straight up filler. Overall, it really brought me down and irked me most of the time.

Characters
Here I encountered another common problem with these books: too many characters. We get a good sense of Gabriel from the beginning—a shy introvert. Cool. Even though his parents aren’t one hundred percent fleshed out, seeing they send him off soon and disappear from the story, it’s forgiveable.

But upon making new friends in the little burg he ends up in, we are bombarded with names and new characters aplenty, among them are—if I remember—Eddie, Jordan, Liam, and Jack. We meet others, but initially this is the crew he hangs with. Beyond their names each character is given one identifying trait that they repeat incessantly in order to…characterize? I’m not sure.

If anything the author should have trimmed one or two characters out, especially after yet another character, Hannah, joins. By the end, they are like one large roaming gang of kids—which though it reminds me of my hometown youth, it doesn’t pan out well when the characters can’t develop well.

Structure
The story, per se, wasn’t bad. As far as middle grade goes, there is a lot of range within this group. That being said, this book feels like it belongs at the lower end of the age range. The story is not particularly difficult or well developed and can be easily read by younger readers. For older ones—as in fifth grade reading level or higher—they might find it a bit tedious and unbelievable, as I did.

Not only that, but I also found the movement of the plot and the unraveling of the riddles a bit ridiculous, but this was only further exaggerated by the tragic dialog. If their conversations were a bit more sparkling, quite possibly the transitions from one scene to another wouldn’t feel so poorly done. To be honest, I can’t say.

Overall

It may have sounded like a bad review, but in the end—a week after having read it—I don’t have hateful memories of the book as I’ve had with much worse reads. The idea and attempt was good. There were just too many skipped parts that lowered the book in my opinion as a whole. Like I said, too many characters made everyone seem flat and lifeless, while the watered-down, I-think-a-kid-would-talk-like-this dialog really dampened my overall impression. But…the author seems to be figuring out what needs to be done. Maybe in the future she’ll hit the right mix of every element. As for this one, I’d say it was a miss.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Middle Grade Read 23 April 2016
By Susan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When I first started reading Fireflies, I thought it was going to be another middle grade "parents fight and ignore kid so kid delves into computer life" book. But no! This story developed into a full-bodied, cozy, touching experience showing the importance and benefits of friendship, compassion, and living life to the fullest.

Gabriel, a 12 year old city boy, spends the summer at his grandparents' house in a small town. He joins forces with a group of local kids, riding bikes and swimming in the local swimming hole. But when Gabriel meets Hannah, he truly learns the impact that one person can have on another's life.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich characters and a fun summer adventure 10 Jun. 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fireflies by Bree Wolf is one of the better books I've read in a while. I initially thought the book was going to be the ongoing dichotomy of Gabriel's (the main character) miserable real life versus his wonderful escape into a fantasy computer game.

It wasn't. It was much more.

It was a page-turning coming of age story about a boy who was uncomfortable in his own skin. He eventually sheds that skin to meet new friends. With those new friends, he finds he can find his own "adventures". Each character is very well fleshed out. I can put a faces from my own childhood on many of them. Fireflies is a book I'd recommend to anyone at any age (especially those who have ever felt isolated). In fact, I'm going to request it at my local library.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 10 Dec. 2014
By Tammy Scarberry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book so much. I will definitely read it again. I love bow the author worth and my favourite characters were Hannah and Gabriel. I loved Hannah a lot because even though she knew she was going to die she acted so strong and inspiring. I also think that Gabriel and Hannah may have been meant to find each other and become friends.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book. 26 Aug. 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The story itself is beautifully complex, it felt as if I was really there. A fast paced begining ,an astounding climax, and a heartbreaking ending, this is a wonderful book.
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