I spent a summer in a small Mississippi town and can attest that the depiction of life in this new novel is spot on. Everyone knows everyone and secrets aren’t that way for very long. Since I grew up in a big city and have never been far from one since, I can’t see myself ever moving to a small town, but I’m thankful for books like this that bring alive a special slice of American life.
This novel is a quiet magical story that is set in the South and what a great name for the protagonist: Genuine Sweet. She narrates the story and her voice springs from the pages. A first crush, dealing with a father who drinks too much, and a gift for granting wishes to others, Genuine has a heart for making things right. It’s a tough job that she faces head on, unafraid to speak her mind. One of the strongest female characters in MG the past year.
Perfect for out loud reading, girls will navigate to this one more than boys. I’m glad I took the chance and hope for a sequel.
PUBLICATION DATE:2015 PAGES: 277
FULL PLOT (From Amazon): Twelve-year-old Genuine Sweet, of tiny Sass, Georgia, can grant any wish . . . except her own. It’s a peculiar predicament, considering how much she could use a few wishes. New friends help Genuine give her family a boost–and then she takes her gift global! Life finally seems to be on the mend. But when she’s faced with unexpected trouble that no amount of wishing can fix, Genuine must puzzle out the difference between wishing for a better life and building one.
Told in the engaging, irresistible voice of Genuine Sweet herself, Faith Harkey’s debut novel spins a remarkable tale of a small-town girl with big-time magic and an even bigger heart.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT GENUINE SWEET by Faith Harkey
- Anyone who becomes a wish fetcher discovers a unique way to grant the wish. For Genuine, her recipients taste one of her homemade biscuits made from magical flour. I got hungry very quick, and the next time I’m eating a biscuit, I may make my own wish.
- Genuine’s friend, Travis, is a handful. We discover why as the story progresses. The change we see in him is heartwarming.
- The author expertly defined the town of Sass, Georgia. I felt like I was walking down the main street. Superb world building.
- Heavy adult themes of death, alcoholism, and cancer are handled well. I’d have no problem with a fourth grader reading this book.
- If you enjoy books like A Snicker of Magic, Savvy, or A Tangle of Knots, then park yourself and enjoy this debut.
FAVORITE LINE: Right then, I found myself thinking of what Gram had said about wish fetchers being the underlings of angels.
AUTHOR QUOTE: “Like a lot of girls I knew, I was a huge Judy Blume fan. At the time there weren’t a lot of people — in books or otherwise — who were giving voice to the powerful emotions and experiences of growing up. I was also a devoted reader of Newbery Award winners, The Westing Game and A Wrinkle in Time being two of my all-time favorites. For a while, I had a pretty serious Choose Your Own Adventure addiction.”
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.