THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

I was getting to the end of this short book and found myself wishing for more, wishing there was a way to stay in Destiny. Sometimes an61VVpCoK9eL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ author creates a bond for her readers with the setting and characters and that’s exactly what happened for me. Young Theo M. Thomas is the perfect voice to carry this off. A gifted play it by ear pianist and a budding baseball star, Theo’s story is more about dealing with the past and an uncertain future.

He’s been living with his grandparents after his own parents were killed. When the story begins he’s already with the uncle he doesn’t know, but who agreed to care for Theo after the grandparents circumstances change. Bad choice as this Vietnam vet has no skills in dealing with a child. Set in 1974, the story is a slice of contemporary life 40 years ago. Save this one for a trip or as a read-aloud. Yes, you’ll want more mystery, baseball, and piano, and that’s why I hope there will be a next chapter in Theo’s life.

PUBLICATION DATE:2015   Page Count: 179

FULL PLOT (From Amazon):  When Theo gets off a bus in Destiny, Florida, he’s left behind the only life he’s ever known. Now he’s got to live with Uncle Raymond, a Vietnam War vet and a loner who wants nothing to do with this long-lost nephew. Thank goodness for Miss Sister Grandersole’s Rooming House and Dance School. The piano that sits in Miss Sister’s dance studio calls to Theo. He can’t wait to play those ivory keys. When Anabel arrives things get even more enticing. This feisty girl, a baseball fanatic, invites Theo on her quest to uncover the town’s connection to old-time ball players rumored to have lived there years before. A mystery, an adventure, and a musical exploration unfold as this town called Destiny lives up to its name.


  1. That cover grabbed me from the get go. A large piano, a small boy, and his baseball glove. The title along with Theo and his baseball glove are raised on the page giving it a specialness all its own.
  2. The well thought out cast of secondary characters adds depth to the story. There’s Miss Sister, who understands Theo from the first day. Anabel, his baseball loving new friend, well, his only friend. And finally, Uncle Raymond, who perhaps changes the most of anyone.
  3. The fictional town of Destiny is based on many real Florida beachfront communities. I’ve visited a few of those and found the depiction here to be perfect.
  4. Theo and Anabel are a charming twosome and one of my favorite friendships I’ve come to know in books over the past ten years.
  5. Although this is a quiet book, the noise the author makes with her writing is enough to make any writer sit up and notice.


1.The last place I want to be is upstairs with my uncle. The first place I want to be is here. Near Miss Sister, not too far from her piano.

2. Nobody in the history of the universe ever learned one single fact worth knowing on the last day of school.


“Although this is fiction the character of Miss Sister Grandersole was based on much loved dance teachers in the small town where I grew up including one everybody called Sister.


Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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11 Responses to THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

  1. It’s always awesome when you finish a book and so wish it hadn’t ended. And I love the quotes, especially the second one. I’m guessing most kids would agree with it too. Thanks for sharing this book.

  2. msyingling says:

    I’m buying this one even though I don’t think it will circulate well. I’m hoping I can sell it to baseball fans, but it is a very quiet book. I enjoyed it myself.

  3. cleemckenzie says:

    Lovely to find short stories that are highly recommended. Reading aloud is a wonderful way to share them, too.

  4. Andrea says:

    I love that second quote you pulled out! I haven’t seen this one around yet, but you’ve made me curious.

  5. warrchick says:

    I love that last day of school quote! So, so true…as we all know. This looks like a fun read, so thanks for the heads up!

  6. How cool, to end up in a town called Destiny. This looks like one I must put on my reading list. Or perhaps the library’s “must order” list.

  7. Joanne Fritz says:

    I read another review of this book recently, but can’t remember which blog. That quote about the last day of school is funny. And so true.

    Quiet books are my favorite kind. And music and baseball — great combination. This is definitely going on my TBR list. Thanks, Greg.

  8. I just read this one last week. Love you choice of quotes. As others have mentioned, it is a quiet book and may not grab the young readers as it should, but it is quite rich. Glad to see the word being spread.

  9. jennienzor says:

    I love that there’s music in this book. I’m always on the lookout for books about music with boy protagonists, since it’s something my son loves.
    I’m also intrigued with the interesting time period and the strong friendship.

  10. I don’t think anyone really minds not learning a single worthwhile thing on the last day of school. But that is still a fabulous quote!

  11. Pingback: Favorite Middle Grade Reading Moments 2015 & a Giveaway – Always in the Middle

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