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.