I have read many stories recently with young male protagonists. I decided it was time to balance that out. After a lengthy online search to come up with a few female heroines, DESTINY REWRITTEN by Kathryn Fitzmaurice surfaced. I liked the cover and had never heard of the author. One problem: Her third novel’s release date was posted as February 19th and by the time I figured out that was 2013 and not 2014…Well, I had tracked down her debut novel, THE YEAR THE SWALLOWS CAME EARLY and got an introduction to her story telling prowess. It turned out to be a very good decision.
PUBLICATION DATE:2009 LEVEL: 4.8 WORD COUNT: 40,790
FULL PLOT (From Amazon): “Expect the unexpected.”
That’s what Eleanor “Groovy” Robinson’s horoscope says the morning everything begins to change. Suddenly, her father is in jail, her plans to attend culinary school when she grows up fall apart, and it feels like maybe nothing will ever be right again. But the swallows that return to her coastal town every year bring a message of hope with them that even Groovy can’t ignore. Can she forgive the failings of someone she loves in order to bring her family back together again?
Kathryn Fitzmaurice’s tender debut novel about food, family, friendship, and forgiveness is as full of promise as the swallows that return home to San Juan Capistrano every spring.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT THE YEAR THE SWALLOWS CAME EARLY
- The main character with a great name, Eleanor “Groovy” Robinson. She’s determined and knows what she wants– to cook and eventually attend a prestigious cooking school. Her charming innocence is challenged throughout the book, but Groovy holds on to her faith and love to make the world the best it can be in her eyes.
- The pacing is perfect with short chapters that keep you pushing to the end.
- The metaphor of a dandelion is expertly woven into the story. I’ll be reminded of this book whenever I see the seeds of a dandelion blowing across a peaceful summer sky.
- How friendship can happen in unexpected ways. Groovy connects with another character when she initially thought they had nothing in common to share.
- The setting. Kathyrn’s descriptions made me feel I was standing in the middle of San Juan Capistrano, California watching those swallows come home. Very poetic.
But it wasn’t the dandelion that made me so sad. It was how I was like the dandelion, minding my own business, waiting to grow and be something. And he hadn’t seen me waiting.
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.