Avenging the Owl, book review, Children's Writing, Gary D. Schmidt, Melissa Hart, Orbiting Jupiter, Pacing, Point of View, Writing

Avenging the Owl — Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“Maybe you’ve made something mediocre–there’s plenty of that in any artist’s cabinets–but something mediocre is better than nothing, and often the 
near-misses, as I call them, are the beckoning hands that bring you to perfection just around the blind corner.” 
~ Sally Mann, Photographer ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Alex Limberg did a guest post on Kristin Lamb’s blog that is worth your time. He talks HERE about making every page interesting. Check it out. 

Writers Helping Writers always has such good stuff. The post HERE is the first post I’ve seen in a long time on pacing. Don’t miss it. 

I tend to write in close third person PoV and often my critique partners think my stories would be better in first person. I am not comfortable with that PoV, but maybe I should try harder. Anyway, it’s something I think about a lot. Janice Hardy at Fiction University has a really useful post HERE on this very subject. 

Thanks for all the lovely birthday wishes. We had a nice quiet family evening, which is exactly what I wanted. My sister and brother-in-law were here almost a week and we got so much done! Now I feel like the move is doable. Before, I was, frankly, really freaking out. My husband’s health has not improved, but we continue with tests but no answers. And of course, there is a lot of brownie baking for my contractor. I do what I have to do to get that remodel finished. 

Last time I wrote, I promised an ARC of Gary D. Schmidt’s fabulous Orbiting Jupiter. The winner this week is Natalie Aguirre. Congratulations, Natalie! If you don’t know Natalie (have you been living in a cave with no wifi?), she is a writer and blogger extraordinaire. You can find out more about her HERE at Literary Rambles, a blog which should not be missed. Natalie, I will get the book out to you this week, assuming I haven’t packed it already. For the rest you, please keep reading. I have another terrific book for you this week.

I had an email a few weeks back from author Melissa Hart asking if I would be interested reviewing in her middle-grade novel, Avenging the Owl. I am something of a bird lover, so found the premise interesting and requested a copy. I’m glad I did. Let me tell you about it. 

Solo Hahn, whose mother was a big Star Wars fan, has a perfect life in Southern California. Nice house near the beach, terrific friends, and plenty of time to surf. But the wheels are about to come off. Solo’s father, a writer, falls into depression and tries to kill himself. Solo’s parents decide the best thing to do is to move to Oregon where they can get a fresh start, but nobody bothers to ask Solo what he thinks. The next thing he knows, they are having a big yard sale and everything is being sold. The only good thing to come out of it is a little stray kitten Solo finds while they are having the sale. The family moves to a trailer house in the middle of nowhere (nowhere near the beach, that is) and Solo and his kitten begin their new life. What keeps him going is his plan to run away back to Southern California to stay with his best friend. 

But when you live in the backwoods, sometimes nature has a way of changing everything, and when an owl snatches Solo’s beloved kitten, he loses it. He grabs a gun owned by the father of the only friend he’s made and goes after the owl, but injures his friend instead. He is assigned to community service working with raptors at a rescue center. Solo is angry and afraid — afraid of the birds, afraid his father will try to kill himself again, afraid he will never see his surfing buddies or the ocean again, afraid he will be sent to juvenile hall if he doesn’t succeed at the raptor center, and more. It’s a lot for a kid to deal with and it makes for a rich, complex novel. The cast of characters is filled with diverse, fully-rounded people who readers can relate to and care about. Melissa Hart’s

Melissa Hart

writing is crisp and polished and her story is very compelling. The book won’t be out until April, but I suggest you put it on your TBR list and keep an eye open for it or, better yet, pre-order it. It’s worth it. And look at that cover. How can you resist? 


I have a 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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