A sure hit for pre-teens: My review of Allison O'Brian on Her Own, volume 1

Publisher: Revell; Reprint edition (May 1, 2011) 

Book Synopsis as provided by the publisher:

Join Allison on the adventure of a lifetime!

It's 1948, and fourteen-year-old Allison O'Brian has never known what it's like to have a real family. She knows nothing about her father, and her mother is a glamorous movie star who has little time for her. But when Allison stumbles upon a long-lost letter, she learns there is more to her past than meets the eye, and she embarks on a coast-to-coast adventure to find the love of a family she has always dreamed about.

Volume 1 includes the first two stories in Allison's adventure: The Hope and The Wish. In The Hope, Allison discovers a mysterious letter that leads her on a cross-country train trip to find her family. In The Wish, Allison's movie-star mother wants to take her back to New York, but Allison must find a way to stay in Oregon with her newly discovered family.

Join this sweet and spunky girl as she makes her dreams come true!


I have no doubt that preteen and teen youth will greatly enjoy Melody Carlson's first two stories about Allison O'Brian. Although those teen years are long behind me, I was still swept up into her story, the injustice, the loneliness, her search for home and a place of belonging. This first volume provides plenty of drama and surprises to keep the pages flying by, and Carlson writes with her usual skill that keeps the reader engaged. Allison is a character that teens will relate to, and she's given a realistic portrayal with both flaws and great strengths, from her lies to her courage to set out across the country to uncover the truth about her past. Parents may debate whether the book is sending the right message with Allison's decision to lie and take off without her mother's permission. But at the same time, her actions are understandable in light of her difficult and lonely experiences growing up, and the whole situation makes for some excellent talking points to chat about with your child...while providing great entertainment at the same time. Allison's search for home ultimately leads her into the hands of God, and her journey to belief is wonderful to behold. The volume ends with a court trial that will have you on the edge of your seat, and the cliffhanger that concludes the book will have you wishing to have the next volume in hand!

I highly recommend Allison O'Brian on Her Own, and award it 5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.