icons

Enjoy my content?

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

LSBBT BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: Finding Esme by Suzanne Crowley (Middle Grade)


FINDING ESME
by
SUZANNE CROWLEY

Genre: Middle Grade (3-7) / Magical Realism / Family & Loss
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Date of Publication: August 14, 2018
Number of Pages: 288


SCROLL DOWN FOR THE GIVEAWAY!







Twelve-year-old Esme’s life changes when she discovers dinosaur bones on her family’s peach farm in Texas.

After her grandfather died from a heart attack while driving his tractor on Solace Hill, Esme's been inextricably drawn to that spot, although her grandmother warns her to stay away.

But when she follows her little brother, Bo, and her dog, Old Jack, up the hill while chasing fireflies, she makes an incredible discovery—dinosaur bones peeking out from underneath the abandoned tractor. The bones must be a message from her grandfather, a connection from beyond the grave. But when word gets out that the farm is hiding something valuable, reporters, researchers, and neighbors arrive in droves. Esme struggles to understand who has her best interests at heart, especially as the memory of her grandfather begins to slip away.

Full of friendship and adventure, and featuring a palpable Texas setting, Finding Esme is a moving and heartfelt story about family, friendship, and learning to deal with loss.

PRAISE & HONORS FOR FINDING ESME:

“Esme is a brave, appealing heroine with the odds stacked against her… Bad blood and layered family secrets drive this story to its ultimately optimistic and satisfying conclusion.” -- Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)  
“Esme McCauley is a lonely but spirited 12-year-old who feels nothing ever happens to her the way it’s supposed to...A poignant tale for readers who enjoy character-driven realism.” -- School Library Journal

“Readers muddling through preteen changes or unstable family lives will identify with Esme’s struggles, but the thrill of discovery will appeal to most.” -- Booklist
Texas Library Association 2019 Spirit of Texas (SPOT) reading program selection






This is an incredibly charming story with the feel of a classic that is timeless and meant to be shared across generations. Catching your attention from the opening line, the author's writing is captivating as it draws readers into sharing this once in a lifetime moment with Esme. Though written with children in mind, this is quite a phenomenal coming of age tale layered in an adult style that will resonate with older readers as well.

"Sometimes you find what you don't want to find."

Digging into secrets that perhaps she shouldn't be, Esme uncovers her own secret: a dinosaur bone. Located on Solace Hill, Esme has finally found her own solace on this very spot that also marks the sudden death of her grandfather, the only person Esme feels every truly loved and cared for her. Esme's grandmother, Bee, specializes in finding things, but Esme knows Bee hasn't found Esme's missing father nor a way to save the family's farm. Though she would love nothing more than to keep this discovery all to herself, the weight of the world seems to rest on her tiny shoulders, and she can't help but think that maybe this secret might just be the good something her family needs to make up for all the bad somethings that never stop coming. 

"'You came out like you were already grown-up, Esme McCauley, even though you were half as big as a minute.'"

With an eclectic and uniquely named cast of characters, the people of Paradise are well developed and add so much dimension to this quirky village. Such variety also brings a range of emotions that are felt just as fervently right along with Esme. Her voice is strong and steady, but buried beneath that tough facade, is still a pre-teen girl navigating feelings of doubt, fear, anxiety, and trust alone. We are reminded of our own experiences, yet rather than mire the narrative down in melancholy, the author beautifully sprinkles moments of tenderness and grace to remind us all that hope is never lost.

"Bee always said our sorrows were linked together one after another. But I didn't believe that anymore. I think God mixed our joys and sorrows together in the sweet far in-between, where they hid from us like shy ghosts, just beyond our reach."

Ultimately, this is a remarkable selection to connect multi-generational families and demonstrates the magic of a well-crafted story that centers on family, friendship, loss, and courage.





Suzanne Crowley is the author of two acclaimed novels for young readers, The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous and The Stolen One. The author, who is also a miniaturist and dollhouse collector whose work has graced the covers of magazines worldwide, was born in a small town in Texas and lives in Southlake, Texas. When not hugging her dog or imbibing in chocolate, she can often be found taking a nap.




TWO READERS EACH WIN A SIGNED COPY OF FINDING ESME, TWO CANDLES, BOOKMARKS, FUN FACT CARDS, AND A PEN!
February 11-21, 2020
(U.S. Only)


a Rafflecopter giveaway   Best of luck!

Many thanks again to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and the author! It was a pleasure reading, reviewing, and hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and author extras!

VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
2/11/20
Review
2/11/20
Review
2/12/20
Audio Review
2/12/20
Review
2/13/20
Review
2/14/20
Review
2/14/20
Review
2/15/20
Review
2/16/20
Review
2/17/20
Review
2/17/20
Review
2/18/20
Review
2/19/20
Review
2/20/20
Review
2/20/20
Audio Review

   blog tour services provided by
 


1 comment:

  1. You are right that the author manages to insert lightness into the darker elements of the book so that it doesn't get too heavy. Thanks for the great review!

    ReplyDelete

Become Bookishly Brilliant! Subscribe Now!