Aim, book review, Children's Writing, Giveaway, Joyce Moyer Hostetter, Karen Harrington, Mayday, San Francisco Book Review, Writing

Mayday — Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people, and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary.”
~ Boris Pasternak ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Maybe the best two minutes you will spend this month can be found HERE

Anne R. Allen’s Blog has a must-read post that is full of links to help you right size your book. Click HERE for this great, rich post. I will be spending a lot of time in the “Too Much of a Good Thing?” section. 

Kathy Temean at Writing and Illustrating has great stuff to share with writers. Her post HERE is about intruder words and how to avoid them. Very worthwhile.

Last week, I offered a gently-read ARC of Joyce Moyer Hostetter‘s Aim to one of you. I had more hits on this post than I usually get in a month and more commenters than on any other post I’ve written. This week’s winner is Donna Earnhardt. Congratulations, Donna! I will get the book out to you soon. And thanks for spreading the word. Those extra chances always help. For the rest of you, please keep reading. I have another wonderful book to give away this week. 

I first ran across Karen Harrington early in 2014 when I read her debut novel, Sure Signs of Crazy. If you missed my review, click HERE. There is also an interview with Karen there, so if you missed that post the first time, do check it out. I loved that book and was very excited when I was able to get her second book, Courage for Beginners. I was NOT disappointed. You can find my review of that one HERE.  I had a nice email from Karen a few months ago telling me she had a new book coming out, Mayday. Needless to say, I was thrilled to hear about it. More than that, she offered me an ARC. I think I liked it even better than her earlier novels. I must say, though, I would love to carve out a few days and read all her books again. They are just so good. Here is the review of Mayday I wrote for the San Francisco Book Review, although I added a little extra because their word limit is hard for me and I had a lot to say about this one.

Wayne Kovok is young, but already his life is divided into Before and After. In

Karen Harrington

Before, his mostly-absent dad is a jerk, his mom doesn’t smile much, and Wayne has learned to spout interesting facts to distract his mother, to fill in uncomfortable moments, and to dazzle pretty Sandy Showalter at school. When Wayne’s Uncle Reed is killed in Afghanistan, Wayne, his mother, and his retired drill-sergeant grandfather drive to the funeral. Wayne and his mother fly home and their plane crashes. Most passengers die and Reed’s flag is lost. Wayne and his mother survive, but After really begins when Wayne wakes up and finds an L-shaped scar across his face, his throat injured so he cannot speak, and Grandpa has come to live with them. Mom gets a new boyfriend and the scene where the boyfriend takes on Grandpa in a put-down contest is terrific. Wayne learns much about himself and his family as he searches far and wide for Reed’s flag.


“In the hour I’d known him, he’d already kept his promises. He made my mother smile and not wear her I need to watch English movies face. And he even stood boot to boot with Grandpa.”

Author Karen Harrington writes books that are full of heart with great characters readers will care deeply about and stories that are memorable and important. This is no exception. Her writing is lyrical and difficult topics are deftly handled throughout, and there are many difficult topics. This warm, wonderful coming-of-age book deserves readership far beyond a middle-grade audience. I Don’t miss this one. It is simply too good. 

I have a gently-read paperback 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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