Friday, 21 February 2014

Review: The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky by Holly Schindler


Title: The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky
Author: Holly Schindler
Genre: Middle Grade
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Dial
Publication Date: 6th February 2014

Tell Me About It
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” meets Because of Winn Dixie in this inspiring story of hope.

August “Auggie” Jones lives with her Grandpa Gus, a trash hauler, in a poor part of town. So when her wealthy classmate’s father starts the House Beautification Committee, it’s homes like Auggie’s that are deemed “in violation.” Auggie is determined to prove that she is not as run-down as the outside of her house might suggest. Using the kind of items Gus usually hauls to the scrap heap, a broken toaster becomes a flower; church windows turn into a rainbow walkway; and an old car gets new life as spinning whirligigs. What starts out as a home renovation project becomes much more as Auggie and her grandpa discover a talent they never knew they had—and redefine a whole town’s perception of beauty, one recycled sculpture at a time. Auggie’s talent for creating found art will remind readers that one girl’s trash really is another girl’s treasure.
My Thoughts
I first heard about The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky from Holly herself when she revealed the cover, and then invited bloggers to participate in the blog tour. When those interested in a review copy were asked to send in their mailing address I never actually thought I would get a copy to read as it was coming from the US.

One thing that I love about The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky is the cover and how much is represents the story inside, seeing the things created within the pages makes it even more easier to imagine it all.
Auggie lives with her Granddad after her Mum took off, and we start The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky with Auggie and her friends Weird Harold, Irma Jean, and Lexie getting ready to start a new school. However this exciting experience is quickly diminished by Victoria, a girl in the new school who looks down upon Auggie, Harold, and Irma Jean. Lexie is quick to jump ship and join Victoria in looking down on others, and what was a great friendship quickly turns sour.
Victoria has a sudden but strong influence over Lexie, and this duo make it clear they dislike Auggie for her social status, and make her feel less than the dirt on the floor. I felt sorry for Auggie having to deal with this, her Grandfather works hard to provide for Auggie but it just isn't good enough in Victoria's eyes, and while I wasn't this poor growing up I can remember what it was like to have others looking down at you for not having the most up to date pair of shoes, or coat, or clothes.

The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky was a surprise read, you get an idea of what the story is about from the synopsis, but there is so much more to it. The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky is about hope and about fighting for what you believe in. About believing in yourself and how a tiny community can work and help each other, but most importantly that beautiful means something different to everyone and as long as YOU believe in it yourself, don't ever let others bring you down or make you feel less than what you or it is worth.
The creations that Auggie and her Grandfather create for their house sound truly fantastic and I would love to see a photo of all the work they did to beautify the house to meet others standards. I loved seeing the neighbours band together and help each other out, and how Auggie gets to see the person behind the house, and behind the persona that they portray.

I don't want to say a lot about what happens in The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky as I really want you to discover what happens in it just like I did. The characters are so easy to love and actually relate to, and when something good happens for them you want to jump up and cheer.

The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky is also the first MG book that I have read, and was surprised that I enjoyed it so much. Once I began reading I couldn't and wouldn't stop and before I knew it I had reached the end. Whether you have read any of Holly's work before or not, or even if you have never read MG before, you HAVE to give The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky a try.

About Holly
I dove headfirst into my writing pursuits after receiving my MA in English from Missouri (that’s pronounced Ma-zur-AH, for those of you not in the know) State University. After wearing out a mere half dozen keyboards (I’m completely serious) drafting enough manuscripts to form a pile that literally stretches from the floor to the ceiling of my office, I was ecstatic to release my debut novel, A Blue So Dark, with Flux. A Blue So Dark earned a starred review in Booklist, was named one of Booklist's Top 10 First Novels for Youth, received a silver medal from the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards, and won a gold medal in the IPPYs. Playing Hurt, my first romance, released in 2011. My first MG, The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky, released in 2014.

…Of course, as a writer, I’m going to be shouting from the rooftops about impending publications…but I’m also a hard-core literature junkie, and look forward to get book recommendations from fellow readers…

Also, as an author, I think it’s my job to dig out the best of each book—I become a better writer by identifying other writers’ strengths! That’s what you can expect to find in my reviews: an honest appreciation for what I perceive to be the most admirable quality in each new author I discover…

I can be found online at hollyschindler.com, and at my blog, Novel Anecdotes (hollyschindler.blogspot.com)
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