Here's how the publisher describes it:
"How about a story? Spin us a yarn."
Instantly, Phoebe Winterbottom came to mind. "I could tell you an extensively strange story," I warned.
"Oh, good!" Gram said. "Delicious!"
And that is how I happened to tell them about Phoebe, her disappearing mother, and the lunatic.
As Sal entertains her grandparents with Phoebe's outrageous story, her own story begins to unfold—the story of a thirteen-year-old girl whose only wish is to be reunited with her missing mother.
In her own award-winning style, Sharon Creech intricately weaves together two tales, one funny, one bittersweet, to create a heartwarming, compelling, and utterly moving story of love, loss, and the complexity of human emotion.
This is another one of the books I read while prepping for BEA (I was lucky enough to be on a panel with the lovely Sharon Creech--and she is every bit as amazing in person!) I have no idea how I missed it all these years, but I'm so glad I found it now.
And I'm not really sure how to explain what's so special about it--but I'm not sure I NEED to. I mean, check out some of the accolades it's racked up over the years:
Winner of the 1995 Newbery Medal
A 1995 ALA Notable Children's Book
School Library Journal Best Book of 1994
Winner of a 1994 Bulletin Blue Ribbon
A Notable Children's Trade Book in the Language Arts (NCTE)
Winner of the 1997 Heartland Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature
Winner, 1995 Newbery MedalNotable Children's Books of 1995 (ALA)
1995 Notable Trade Books in the Language Arts (NCTE)
Children's Book Award for Longer Novels
(Great Britain's Federation of Children's Books Groups)
Outstanding Books of 1994 for Middle School-Aged Teens (V)
Best Books 1994 (SLJ)
Bulletin Blue Ribbon Books 1994 (C)
So clearly this is an amazing book. Which is a really good way to describe it: AMAZING. The characters, the writing, the emotions--all absolutely breathtaking. Oh, and yeah, like many Newbery winners this one WILL make you cry. I sobbed. Twice. Even though I knew both things were coming, the way Sharon lays the feelings on the page is just so real and honest that yeah, I dare you not to cry. I DARE YOU.
But it's worth the tears, I promise!
In fact, to prove it, I'm giving away a copy to one lucky winner.
If you would like to enter, leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm pacific time on Saturday June 23rd. I'll draw one random winner and post their names on Sunday, June 24th. International entries welcome.
For more awesome middle grade recommendations, check out these other MMGMs floating around the blogosphere.*
If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so I see it)
NOTE: I used to not have a cut-off time for adding links to the post, but with how insane my schedule is right now, if you don't email me by Sunday evening (usually around 11pm PST is when I put the links together) I can't guarantee I'll have a chance to add you. BUT, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you!
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen posts ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me ahead of time.