speechless.jpgI first came across SPEECHLESS after winning a copy on Rosi Hollinbeck’s wonderful blog. I couldn’t wait to read it, but I had a half dozen publisher requests and commitments from the CYBILS finalist’s pile. Over the next several months the book received praise from other great blogging sites like Children’s Books Heal and Read Wonder. Last month SPEECHLESS finally reached the top of my pile and I’m glad it did.

I like when authors take chances and steer away from the typical way of presenting scenes leading up to a climatic ending. Thirteen-year-old Jimmy narrates the story and it begins as he and his parents arrive at the wake for Jimmy’s cousin, Patrick. Jimmy has always despised his cousin, a misunderstood boy who spent a lifetime ruining birthday celebrations, holidays, and almost any other day the two of them were together. Here’s the kick start: Jimmy has been chosen to give the eulogy at Patrick’s funeral the next day.

The book divides itself with backstory about their relationship and the present day preparations Jimmy tries to make in writing a speech of respect for a kid he least respected. The author fits the two together in perfect harmony. Throughout the pages, difficult themes of mental illness, alcoholism, and abuse are handled so middle grade readers will empathize and understand. The end of course is Jimmy making his speech and it’s a winner.

Yes, there are many Patrick’s in the world today who need someone to listen what’s going on inside them. I hope this story will encourage many to do just that and not remain speechless. Come October and the next nomination round for CYBILS, this one is at the top of my list.

AUTHOR BIO (From Adam’s website)

I’ve lived outside of Chicago my entire life, currently in the town of Oswego, IL where the race of suburbia meets the quiet of farm country.  My wife and I met on a blind date, one of the worst either of us ever had.  I’m so grateful she agreed to a second.  We have two boys (Aidan, Anderson) who keep us busy with sports, cat videos, and traveling anywhere we can.  My days are spent as an educator in a middle school, my nights as a husband and father, my weekends as a writer.

I began writing Speechless a few years ago after witnessing a profound moment at a wake of someone taken all too soon.  It stayed with me until I wrote it down and the characters grew from the seed.  In 2016 Speechless gained traction and was selected as a finalist for the middle grade category of a manuscript contest.  After working with through revisions with my mentor, I was offered representation from Marcy Posner of Folio Literary Management. Marcy helped Speechless find a home at Candlewick Press.


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Coming up next week is another edition of MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY.
If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and any other focus on the world of middle grade lit also count) and email me the title of the book or feature and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com
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Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and for spreading the middle grade love!
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About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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4 Responses to SPEECHLESS

  1. cleemckenzie says:

    This sounds like such a touching story.

  2. This was one of my favorite reads last fall! I am thrilled you gave it so much book love. It is a bit quirky, but you can’t help but love Jimmy. Authors can learn a lot by reading Speechless. It also reminded me a bit of Jack Gantos’ series Joey Pigza, even though very different books. Perhaps the energy. Thanks for mentioning my review.

  3. I’m glad you enjoyed this book. I loved it. Thanks for the post.

  4. kozbisa says:

    I had my eye on this one, and sounds like it was as wonderful as I thought it would be

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