Thought for the Day:
“Remember: Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations.”
~ Ray Bradbury ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends:
In the very first critique group I joined, a long, long time ago, one of the participants told us we had to write our work in a close third person or first person. There were no other choices. When I suggested that books could be written from an omniscient point of view, she said there was no such thing. She was pretty adamant. Were I still in touch with her, I would send her the link HERE from Janice Hardy at Fiction University. It’s great!
Working on dialogue? The post HERE from Writers in the Storm and both fun and useful with great examples of dialogue from The Gilmore Girls.
After reading the post from K. M. Weiland HERE on pacing, I realize this is something I should work on.
I have mentioned here before that sometimes I run across little piles of long-forgotten books that I should have reviewed a whole lot sooner. But then I tell myself it is never too late to review a good book. I found another little hidden stack recently and am trying to find time to read and review them between the reviews I have to do for the San Francisco Book Review and their sister publications. I remember requesting this book from the publisher because it sounded so interesting. Well, I was right about that. Too bad I am getting to it so late.
The Dollar Kids by Jennifer Richard Jacobson is really a terrific book. I can’t believe a let it sit for so long, but perhaps I should just say that I am writing this to celebrate its first birthday. It came out just about one year ago.
Lowen Grover, age 12, and his family have a pretty good life living in the city, but they can’t afford a house and live in a crowded apartment. Lowen likes to spend his time drawing comic books, and his biggest fan is Abe, a younger, and often annoying, neighbor boy. To get Abe out of his hair one day, Lowen gives Abe some money and sends him to the corner store to buy himself some candy. When Abe and three other kids end up shot dead at the store, It’s all Lowen can do to keep going, burdened with the guilt of sending Abe to his death.
After the shooting, the family finds out about a program in a small town, Millville, that has fallen on hard times. To incentivize people to move there, Millville is offering some abandoned houses for only one dollar. Lowen’s family applies. Of course, the buyers must fix them up. The town is also hoping the buyers will start new businesses and all families must have kids, as the schools are in need of more students to keep them open and to field teams in all sports. Lowen’s brother, Clem, and sister, Anneth, both love sports and are happy about everything, but Lowen sees himself as a total clutz and never seems to do well in sports. His sister and brother also make friends easily, but Lowen does not. They end up being chosen to get a house, and they even get the largest house available, only to find out it is next door to a funeral home. Their dad has to keep his job in the city for the income, so he is only home on weekends. Their mother tries to start a restaurant selling Cornish pasties, but much of what she does is undermined by the locals. It is a much harder move than any of them anticipated, but especially for Lowen, who is carrying a huge emotional burden about Abe’s death.
Jennifer Richard Jacobson has written a terrific book young readers will enjoy and see themselves in in many ways. The characters are well-developed and realistic, their problems are things readers can relate to, and the setting is perfect for this very compelling story. Ryan Andrews, a comic artist, has several illustrations in the book that add to the story and will help to capture readers. This is a wonderful story that will not only engage readers but give them much to think about and the characters and story will stay with them. I recommend it highly. I really loved it.
I have an ARC of this book for one of you. All you need do is be a follower or subscriber (it’s free!), have a U.S. address, and leave a comment below. If you would like extra chances, please share the link to this post on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media outlet and let me know you have done that. 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.