Monday, March 11, 2013

Will Sparrow's Road by Karen Cushman -- and a giveaway!

First, I want to thank everyone who participated in the lively discussion on my last post. Even discounting my replies, that post generated more comments than any other post in my four years of blogging. Now for this week's recommendation:




Will Sparrow's Road by Karen Cushman (Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin, November 2012, for ages 10 and up)

Synopsis (from the book jacket): Will Sparrow, liar and thief, is running away -- from the father who sold him for beer, the innkeeper who threatened to sell him as a chimney sweep, from his whole sorry life. Barefoot and penniless, without family, friends, or boots, Will is determined to avoid capture and, of course, to find something to eat.

Some of the travelers he meets on the road have a kind word for him and a promise of better things to come, such as coins and juicy beef ribs. Eager to go along, Will repeatedly finds himself tricked by older and wiser tricksters.

Why I liked it: Will's a remarkable character, who at first cares for "no one but myself and nothing but my belly!" Writers who struggle with character growth should study this because Will grows and changes more than any protagonist I've come across recently. And if you're a fan of historical fiction, you'll love the story. The inimitable Karen Cushman infuses the novel with colorful personalities and plenty of Elizabethan flavor as Will travels from one market fair to another, along with an assortment of "Oddities" in search of a place to call home.

(My only trouble with this book was every time I read the name "Will Sparrow" I kept picturing Will Turner and Jack Sparrow. Guess I've watched "Pirates of the Caribbean" too many times!)

Now for the giveaway. Since I didn't receive an arc, I purchased a hardcover copy. And I'm eager to share it with one of you. To enter the giveaway you must be a follower and leave a comment on this post. International entries welcome. This giveaway will end at 10 pm EDT on Saturday, March 23, 2013. Winner will be chosen by random.org and announced Monday, March 25. Good luck!

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is the brainchild of Shannon Messenger. See her blog for the links, or check out my sidebar.

25 comments:

  1. Ohhh! Watching a character's growth is something special in a story. Thanks for word about this one (and the chance to win it!).

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    1. You're welcome, Barbara, and good luck!

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  2. Sounds like a good book I should check out for the character growth issues. I'll let someone else win this though because my TBR list is getting out of control again.

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    1. You certainly do read a lot, Natalie! Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. I love Karen Cushman's writing...can't believe I haven't read this yet. Great review!

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    1. Thanks, Faith! Yes, I adore Catherine, Called Birdy and The Alchemy of Meggie Swann. This is the first time she's written about a boy.

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  4. Love it, Joanne-- your comment about the name Will Sparrow is cracking me up. Right when I saw the title I started singing the "Jack Sparrow" song from Saturday Night Live. This sounds like an interesting mix of history, culture, and fiction. I'd love to win it.

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    1. Ha ha ha, Kat! "Now back to the good part."

      Oh, and I'm glad the book sounds good too. You're entered.

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  5. Thanks for the review and giveaway! I love Karen Cushman's historical books. Matilda Bones is probably my favorite.

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    1. That's the one I have NOT read, Susanna. Must add to TBR...

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  6. This sounds like a delightful HF book! I have read other books by this author and enjoyed them. I would love to read this one and then pass it on to my co-author's 5th grade class. Thanks so much for the giveaway. :)

    I am an old follower!
    ~Jess

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    1. Hi Jess! You're officially entered. Thanks.

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  7. I have read some of her other books. This one sounds interesting--especially about the character development. I will check this one one. Thanks for the review.

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  8. I think my 12 year old would really like Will Sparrow's Road. Thanks so much for the recommendation.

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    1. You're welcome, Jay! Twelve is a great age for this.

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  9. How can I resist a historical novel with a character who has Sparrow as last name? ;)
    Thanks for this generous giveaway.

    ~Akoss

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    1. It would be hard to resist this book. Hi Akoss! Thanks for entering and for tweeting about it.

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  10. I haven't read a good historical novel in some time, and I especially like them when they're MG!

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    1. Karen Cushman is the best at historical fiction, Matt! Thanks for stopping by.

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  11. Sounds like a good book, especially if I can learn some writing techniques while reading it! I have to admit, I first thought it had something to do with Pirates of the Caribbean too! :) Thanks for the giveaway!

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    1. Ha ha, Jennifer! Glad I'm not the only one!

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  12. I'm entering just in time. :) Thanks for the giveaway. This sounds like a great story.

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    1. Yes, you got in there with a few hours to spare. :)

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