Study Guide

A Northern Light Tough-o-Meter

By Jennifer Donnelly

Tough-o-Meter

(6) Tree Line

Pack an extra snack and a large water bottle, Shmoopsters, because you're in for a somewhat lengthy hike. What makes A Northern Light a bit more difficult than the average young adult novel is its combination of language and history. Donnelly doesn't believe in dumbing down language for teens, thank goodness, and while we connect fairly quickly to Mattie and her story, the context takes a bit of getting used to since, you know, the book is set way back in the day. Add plenty of flashbacks into the mix, and we've got ourselves a bit of a hike with this one.

You know the thing about a hike, though, right? At the top you get a view—and when you do, you realize the trip was totally worth it. So strap on your boots, and get reading.