Earlier this year I enjoyed THE YEAR THE SWALLOWS CAME EARLY by Kathryn Fitzmaurice. I grabbed the opportunity to read her newest, DESTINY, REWRITTEN. It’s a beautifully written story told from the viewpoint of 11-year-old Emily Davis. As I read the book it seemed that it’s proper place would be as a read aloud in the classroom or in the bedroom at night. I’m afraid most boys would only read this if it were assigned. I even tried –
Me: I just finished this book. Want to give it a go?
11-year-old boy: What’s it about?
Me: It’s about destiny and poetry. The story of…
11-year-old boy: Nah, I’m not into girl’s books.
Okay. I was seconds away from enticing him with Mortie, a nine year old cousin in the story who supplies comic relief. But this is really Emily’s story and one that girls, their teachers and parents would love. I’ll keep working on that 11-13 male demographic, but I’m afraid this one may not be for them – at least not at this point in their lives.
PUBLICATION DATE:2013 LEVEL: 5.1 WORD COUNT: 48,899
FULL PLOT (From Amazon): Eleven-year-old Emily Elizabeth Davis has been told for her entire life that her destiny is to become a poet, just like her famous namesake, Emily Dickinson. But Emily doesn’t even really like poetry, and she has a secret career ambition that she suspects her English-professor mother will frown on. Then, just after discovering that it contains an important family secret, she loses the special volume of Emily Dickinson’s poetry that was given to her at birth. As Emily and her friends search for the lost book in used bookstores and thrift shops all across town, Emily’s understanding of destiny begins to unravel and then rewrite itself in a marvelous new way.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT DESTINY, REWRITTEN
- I like that rules were broken by the author. Rules that beginning authors have to follow, but once you’re published the reigns are loosened a bit. The first broken rule is the beginning of the story. As writer’s struggle to come up with that eye popping beginning or the perfect action paragraph to grab hold of readers, you won’t find that here. It’s a slow, well crafted, and drawn out beginning that doesn’t start running away with your attachment until 60 -70 pages in. Stay with it and you will be rewarded with Emily’s search for her destiny.
- Emily’s letters to author, Danielle Steele. Most middle aged readers will not have any idea that Steele is a real author of romance novels. No problem – It’s what Emily says in those letters that bring hope to her world.
- Reading about a kid who is successful at stepping out of her comfort zone. Great message for kids … and maybe a few adults.
- I enjoyed the individuality of the secondary characters. The English professor mom; Cousin Mortie – obsessed with all thing military; and Emily’s best friends’ Wavey – the researcher, and Cecily Ann – the real poet.
- Some rich discussion could take place with others who have read the book. Is there destiny for everyone and can you change what has already been decided?
We stood in front of the book table while I whispered an emergency Hail Mary and Mom squeezed my hand, her breath floating out like someone who’d just made the tiniest of wishes on a cluster of birthday candles that they knew would never come true.
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.