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 an 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.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY by AUGUSTA SCATTERGOOD
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.