Study Guide

Serena Tough-o-Meter

By Ron Rash

Tough-o-Meter

(5) Tree Line

We hate to break it to you, but this book has its challenges from time to time. First off, it happens a long time ago, so you have to deal with the fact that we're talking about stuff in 1930s North Carolina, which looks a whole lot different than our world today. Morality was a hot mess, super strict when it came to gender norms but super lax when it came to working people to the bone.

Then there's the fact that we are given chapters from different character's perspectives. Don't expect to constantly be reading about the Pembertons—Serena might be our protagonist, but Rachel and the workers get their fair share of airtime, too.

With all of that off our chest, we can tell you that the mystery and plot keeps you coming back for more. Is this book a bit of a trek? Sure, but the view is totally worth it. And if all else fails, just picture Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper—that should perk you right back up.