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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Odd, Quirky Middle Grade Novel Doesn't Quite Sway Me

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Being the daughter of a dedicated disaster volunteer is not easy.  Every time a tornado blows through or a hurricane whips up somewhere in the U.S., Cass's mother flies to the rescue.  Cass tries to feel only pride in her mother's important work—after all, how silly is it to envy a disaster victim?  Besides, the 10-year-old's fondest dream is to join her mom on one of her life-saving crusades.  As soon as her mom returns to little Olyn, Alabama, Cass plans to present her with the idea.  In no time, Cass knows, she and the famous Toodi Blue Nordenhaur, will embark on all kinds of epic, disaster-busting road trips.  They'll be partners, meaning Cass will never have to be separated from her mother again.  She can't wait to implement this perfect, foolproof plan. 

When Toodi finally comes home, Cass gets disastrous news.  Not only is her mom leaving again, but she refuses to take her only child with her.  Cass blames her boring, old dad for the betrayal.  She refuses to forgive him, even when he insists they take their own super-exciting road trip in an ancient RV nicknamed The Roast.  Cass can't imagine anything more boring than traveling with her meat salesman father.  It's only when he introduces her to a magical force called Sway that Cass begins to wonder if there might be more to her dull, dependable dad than meets the eye.  And, if he really can make amazing things happen, then maybe, just maybe they can convince Toodi to come home for good. 

As much as I like the premise behind Sway by Amber McRee Turner, the follow-through just didn't quite do it for me.  The book's a little too quirky, a little too odd for my tastes.  It's a quick, upbeat read, though, and one that teaches some great lessons about family, friendship and finding the good in even the rottenest of situations.  Overall, I thought it was just okay.

(Readalikes:  Reminded me a little of Savvy by Ingrid Law

Grade: 


If this were a movie, it would be rated:



for some scary situations and vague references to marital infidelity

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Sway from the generous folks at Harper Collins.  Thank you!

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