Monday, January 9, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - The Year the Swallows Came Early

by: Kathryn Fitzmaurice

First up for my first Marvelous Middle Grade Monday of 2012 is The YEAR THE SWALLOWS CAME EARLY. First from the back cover:

"Expect the unexpected."

That's what Eleanor "Groovy" Robinson's horoscope says the morning everything begins to change. Suddenly, her father is in jail, her plans to attend culinary school when she grows up fall apart, and it feels like maybe nothing will ever be right again. But the swallows that return to her coastal town every year bring a message of hope with them that even Groovy can't ignore. Can she forgive the failings of someone she loves in order to bring her family back together again?

The underlying message in this book is what made it stand out for me. Both Groovy and Frankie (her best friend) learned the value of accepting people for who they are, no matter how they may appear at first glance. Along with this was the overriding theme of forgiveness, both for Groovy and many others in the book. Frankie was a prime example of the physical pain of not forgiving, while Groovy showed the physical and emotional side.

I loved seeing the positive changes in Groovy from the beginning to the end of the book. Interspersing Groovy's love of food and cooking was a great addition to the plot. I also loved reading about the swallows. It was cool how their arrival added to the main plot of the story.

I definitely recommend this book and am very excited for Kathryn's next book coming out in 2012 - A DIAMOND IN THE DESERT. If you would like to read an interview with Kathryn, check out Pam Torres' blog post from October. I was lucky enough to win the autographed copy Pam gave away.  Thanks again Pam and Kathryn!