book review, Giveaway, Maggie Hollinbeck, Nancy Bo Flood, Roger Sharenow, Stripped Down, The Girl in the Torch, Water Runs Through This Book

The Girl in the Torch — Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“Don’t quit. It’s very easy to quit during the first 10 years. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.”
~ Andre Dubus ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends:
WritinGeekery has quite an interesting post HERE entitled Rock Your First Chapter, No Excuses. It’s a good one. 

The Writer’s Circle has a good article HERE on words you should banish from your writing. Yes, BANISH! 

Janice Hardy has a great post HERE on what it really means to start with action.

Last week I was able to have some great giveaways and have three winners to announce. The two lucky people who will receive signed copies of Water Runs Through This Book by Nancy Bo Flood are @dmsfiles and Nancy. Congratulations to both! I will be contacting you for addresses and how you would like your books signed. And, for your listening pleasure, Susan will be receiving a CD of Stripped Down by the beautiful and talented Maggie Hollinbeck! Nancy is a loyal reader, Susan is a time-travel expert and blogs HERE,and @dmsfiles can be found blogging HERE. Both blogs are worth your time. I have another giveaway, so keep reading please!

I recently won a whole box of middle-grade books and a Starbucks card (Thanks, Greg!!!) from the very generous Greg Pattridge who writes and blogs

about middle-grade writing and reading at Always in the Middle HERE. He has great reviews and discusses the writing process. Don’t miss it. Anyway, in that box of books was one I had already read and really enjoyed. I’m happy to share it here. It’s called The Girl in the Torch by Robert Sharenow. I have to admit, this book has really stayed with me since I read it a couple months ago. I do love historical fiction and this one has a compelling story and wonderful characters, but that’s not why it has stayed with me. One of the first rules of writing for children is that the main character has to solve his/her own problem. I don’t think I am giving too much away, but I would love to know if Sharenow had any push back on that. His main character, Sarah, does a lot of things along the way to help herself, but ultimately some wonderful adults step in to bail her out of her biggest problem. I’d be interested to hear from anyone else who has read this book and what you think about this. If you haven’t read the book, it’s really good. Here is the review I wrote for the San Francisco Book Review.

It is early in the 1900s, and 12-year-old Sarah lives in a small village when her father is killed by powerful men. She and her mother take what little they have and buy passage to America to start a new life where Jews are not persecuted. During the voyage, Sarah’s mother becomes quite ill, and when they arrive at Ellis Island, she dies, leaving Sarah with no one. A search for some relatives in New York comes up empty, and Sarah is put on a ship to return to her homeland, but she jumps overboard and swims to Liberty Island. She scavenges food during the day and sleeps in the crown at night, trying to figure out a way to get to the mainland and find a way to live. But there is a night guard between her and freedom, and when he falls and is injured, there is no one to help him but Sarah. Thus begins an odd partnership.
“She hadn’t been bathed by anyone since her mother had done
it when she was a little girl. Her mother had a much gentler hand. 
But it felt nice to be taken care again, even if it was by a tough 
old Chinese woman she barely knew.”

Robert Sharenow has written a terrific story with complex characters and interesting relationships set in a time and place young readers will find

Robert Sharenow

fascinating. The writing is lovely and the story compelling. This is a winner.


I have a very gently-read ARC for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.

Don’t forget to check out Shannon Messenger’s wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.

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