Monday, March 21, 2016

FREE VERSE by Sarah Dooley -- and a Giveaway!


First, I have a winner to announce from last week's giveaway of THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE. According to randomizer, the winner is

JENNI ENZOR

Congratulations, Jenni! And look for an email from me asking for your mailing address. For those who didn't win, remember the book is now available from Viking or your local indie bookstore.


Now on to today's feature:





Free Verse by Sarah Dooley (March 15, 2016, G.P. Putnam's sons, 352 pages, for ages 10 and up) 

Synopsis (from the publisher):  When her older brother dies in a fire, Sasha Harless has no one left. Her father died in the mines and her mother ran off, so Sasha's brother was her only caretaker. They'd always dreamed of leaving Caboose, West Virginia together someday, but instead she's in foster care, feeling more stuck and broken than ever. But when Sasha discovers cousins she didn't know she had, she finally has something to hold onto, especially sweet little Mikey, who's just as broken as she is. Sasha even makes her first friend at school and is slowly learning to cope with her brother's death by writing poetry.

Then a tragedy strikes the mines where Mikey's father works, and Sasha fears the worst. She takes Mikey and runs away.

Why I recommend it: I know what you're thinking: oh, how sad! And yes, of course, it is sad. As sad as Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt or One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt or Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. But what the synopsis doesn't tell you is how strong and likable Sasha is, and how powerfully and in what exquisite detail this novel brings to life a West Virginia coal-mining town. Yes, there is tragedy, but there is also a wonderful ending filled with hope. Best of all? It's about the power of poetry to heal.

Bonus: Poetry Month is coming up in April and this would be a great discussion starter. While not written in verse, one part of this four-part novel is Sasha's poetry notebook, with many different forms that Sasha learns: haiku, cinquain, tanka, found poetry, etc, as well as a section of free verse poems.

Favorite lines:  I HAVE STOPPED

                          corralling
                          my poems
                          by form.
                          They run
                          loose like
                          wild dogs.


Now for the giveaway details: The publisher has generously offered one hardcover copy for giveaway. To enter, you must be a follower of this blog and you must comment on this post. If you mention the giveaway on social media, please let me know and I'll give you extra chances to win. This giveaway is open to US mailing addresses only (sorry!) and will end at 10:00 pm EDT on Sunday March 27. The winner will be announced on Monday March 28. Good luck!






21 comments:

  1. Interesting!
    I went to college across a river from a WV coal mining town, and I can still remember the smell of the air--pretty disgusting, actually. But nostalgic, now. :)

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    1. Wow, that's interesting, Faith. Funny that the memory of the smell now makes you nostalgic. Sense memories are so strong.

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  2. Sounds like a touching story. Seems to be a lot of foster kids not only in real life but in books these days. Thanks for your insights on this one. I've added it to my TBR list.

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  3. Even though this sounds sad, I'm intrigued by the healing nature of poetry in this story - will definitely be watching for it!

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    1. That was my favorite take-away from it, Andrea.

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  4. I love sad books with hope, and lately I love books with poetry! I think I'd love to win this. The fates should really arrange that. ;)

    Thanks for bringing it to my attention, and have an absolutely fabulous week!

    --Suzanne
    www.suzannewarr.com

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    1. You could help the fates along by tweeting about it or mentioning the giveaway on Facebook, Suzanne. Sometimes it does seem to help.

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  5. Thanks fro telling me about this book. It sounds lovely. And thanks for a chance to win.

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    1. Anytime, Rosi. You're always so generous with giveaways on your own blog.

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  6. Sounds like a great story. I'll let someone else win though.

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    1. It should win an award of some kind, Natalie.

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  7. This sounds like a sad book, but it also sounds like a great read. I am so glad the main character is strong. I love poetry and have found it has been a helpful outlet to me in my own life. Definitely want to read this one. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

    I tweeted it: https://twitter.com/dmsfiles/status/713365312448495616 and Google +'d it. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. Extra chances duly noted, Jess! Thanks for spreading the word.

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  8. This reminds me vaguely of The Red Pencil although the context is quite different. Thanks for the feature and the chance at winning a copy. :)
    Here is a link to my sharing it on twitter: https://twitter.com/akossket/status/714118530338193408

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    1. Hi Akoss! You made it in plenty of time. And thanks for tweeting. Extra chance duly noted.

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  9. You compared it two books I love (Walk Two Moons and The Homecoming), so you intrigued me. :) I will look into this title.

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  10. This book sounds sad (As you said), but I like the idea of writing poetry as an escape. Great review!

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YAY for comments! I read and appreciate each one and I always try to answer. All opinions welcome. Let's have a conversation.