Pay Attention, Carter Jones — Review

Thought for the Day:

“Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.”
~ Victor Kiam ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

When I first typed “The End” on my second novel, I was at about 130,000 words, which is just a little hefty for a middle-grade historic novel — like double what it should be. But they were wonderful words, precious words! How could I cut any? Well, I have it down to 72,000 words now and it probably could use a little more trimming. HERE is a good post from The Creative Penn with tips for trimming.

I have trouble writing funny, but the Writer’s Digest article HERE can help us infuse our writing with humor.

Location descriptions are hard to do well. The post HERE from Nicolas C. Rossis will help you to get it right.

First of all, Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers reading this post. I hope you are having wonderful family time today. I will be spending the evening with my favorite son-in-law and his family to celebrate, so I need to get this done!

lgp4ZhFURsGp6gTtAavheAI was traveling most of last week. I took my grandson, Gehrig, to Minnesota. One of his college choices was Bemidji State University, so he and I went to take a look. He has found his people. He fell in love with the school, they have the programs that interest him, and (BONUS!) it is an option that will leave him with little, if any, debt when he comes out. For whatever reason, they do not charge out-of-state tuition. It’s a beautiful campus in the lake country of northern Minnesota and almost all of the campus is connected by tunnels, which is going to be great in the winter. So Gehrig is officially a Bemidji State Beaver. I’m so proud of him. Oh, and what is he holding in the picture? Pickled herring, of course. He will do fine in Minnesota.

Pay AttentionI have reviewed several books by Gary D. Schmidt on my blog over the years. My favorite is Okay for Now, but I love others including Orbiting Jupiter, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, and The Wednesday Wars. So when I saw a new book by him available for review for the Tulsa Book Review, I was very excited. I liked Pay Attention, Carter Jones very well, but I don’t think it’s in the top tier like those I named above. Still, it deserves a good readership. Here is the review I wrote for Tulsa BR.

Carter Jones opens the door one rainy morning to find an English butler there ready to help to get Carter and his sisters to school. In fact, he was there to stay as long as their mother needed him. Their dad is deployed overseas and hasn’t been home in a while, not since he took Carter to Australia after Carter’s younger brother died. Mr. Bowles-Fitzpatrick drives a purple Bentley and teaches Carter to drive even though he is only twelve. The butler also teaches Carter and some other boys to play cricket. But cricket is just another way of teaching him some important life lessons, ones he will need since things are changing in his life in a big way.

Gary D. Schmidt

If Mary Poppins had been a butler and come to America, this would be that story. In many ways, Gary D. Schmidt, master storyteller, mirrors that story in this book with delightful humor, well-drawn characters, and a complex story that is unpredictable and has a couple of surprise gut-punches that will leave readers thinking. Middle school is a tough time for a lot of kids, and this book might help them through the hard times.

No giveaway this week. I donated my hardbound copy to my granddaughter’s school library. If you are reading this in your email, please click HERE to get to my blog, then click on the title of the post, and leave a comment. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.

20 thoughts on “Pay Attention, Carter Jones — Review”

  1. That’s great that you cut so many words in your MG. I had to do something similar with my first MG fantasy. Now I’m trying to be more conscious of my word count and page length as I go.

    Congrats on your grandson!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This book sounds really fun! I loved The Wednesday Wars as well, so I’ll have to try this! Thanks so much for the review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations to your grandson, and to your for pairing down so much of your novel! Bravo!

    I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I haven’t yet managed to read one of Gary Schmidt’s books…something you’re reminding me I really need to change! This sounds super fun, so hopefully it can be my first.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great job, Gehrig! Best of luck to your grandson as he begins the new journey.
    The links on setting description and humor were much appreciated. It’s always tough to know how much to include and when.
    I enjoyed Pay Attention Carter Jones but was thoroughly confused by the cricket side plot. I had to find a video to understand it a little more. It’s hard to top Wednesday Wars and Okay for Now. Thanks for your thoughts on this book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Glad you like the links. When I was crossing from England to Ireland on the ferry, there was a cricket game on the big screen in the lounge, and one of the passengers (an Aussie) tried to explain the game. I still don’t get it.


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