Michael is the adopted son of John and Anne Nygaard and loves his life on his parents’ Minnesota farm. Then one day, the unthinkable happened. Michael’s dad collapses and dies and Michael’s mother has no choice but to sell the farm and move to Ackermann, Illinois where a job at her brother’s restaurant is waiting for her.
When they arrive in Ackermann, Michael has a difficult time making friends – he is the new kid, and the target of the 4th grade bully. He is befriended by another loner. Tina is in 6th grade and goes to the junior high. She lives across the street from Michael, and they become close friends, even though her moodiness bothers Michael. He doesn’t understand why she is nice to him one minute, and mean the next.
Michael’s teacher Julia Parnell has observed the bullying, but is powerless to do anything because there is no school policy against it. She befriends Michael, and they form a close friendship. When Anne is asked to work Saturday’s, she asks Julia if Michael could stay with her during her shift.
Michael is drowning in his grief but can’t talk to his mother about it because he doesn’t want to make her sad. He misses his dad tremendously and dreams of talking with him. His life was so much simpler with his dad, the farm, his chores, and his friends. Would his life here ever feel the same? Would he ever be accepted? When each child had to tell something interesting about his life, Michael revealed that he was adopted. The other students treated him meanly, and he was even more ostracized.
No one knows Julia is running from her past, but when it catches up with her, will it affect her job, her relationship with Michael and her other students? Julia has been best friends with Rose since they were young girls. A towns person knew someone from Julia’s past, and before long, rumors were spreading. Her lesson plans had the word Homo written in bold black letters on them. It was hard enough to figure out who she was without others’ bigotries getting in the way.
There is a lot going on in this book, and a lot of prejudice and resentment. Will each character be able to solve their personal conflicts?
I loved THE ROOMS ARE FILLED. It is a quick read, but a complex storyline. I fell in love with the characters of Michael and Julia and was rooting for them all the way. Jessica Null Vealitzek writes with enthusiasm and passion. She has woven the lives and problems of various characters into an intensely captivating tale. I highly recommend this book.
Learn more about Jessica:
Author Page Jessica Null Vealitzek
Blog True Stories
To buy her book on Amazon THE ROOMS ARE FILLED