I received this book at no cost from the publisherThe Sisters of Straygarden Place by Hayley Chewins
Published by Candlewick Press on October 13, 2020
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Candlewick (October 13, 2020)
Praise for THE SISTERS OF STRAYGARDEN PLACE
Lyrical and imaginative, rich and riveting. This is Hayley Chewins at her best, writing about magical girls with secrets and sisters who rise above the odds. An absolute must-read! —Christine Day, author of I Can Make This Promise, an American Indian Youth Literature Award Honor Book
Chewins’ prose is exquisite, her eerie concepts heart-wrenching…Superb, spooky, and unforgettable. —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Chewins (The Turnaway Girls) weaves a vivid, otherworldly tale of family and secrets, with a gothic setting that serves as a character in its own right. Through themes of identity, forgiveness, and longing, Mayhap’s unpredictable quest becomes intensely personal, especially as the sisters reinvent their familial relationship. —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
A strong opening and consistent sense of urgency makes this an ideal choice for reluctant readers interested in slightly spooky fantasy. Give to fans of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, Kenneth Oppel’s The Nest, or The House in Poplar Wood by K.E. Ormsbee. —School Library Journal
A riveting middle-grade fantasy about sibling bonds, enchanted houses, and encroaching wildness, lyrically told in eerily beautiful prose
The grass grew taller than the house itself, surrounding it on all sides. It stuffed the keyholes and scraped against the roof. It shook the walls and made paintings shiver.
Seven years ago, the Ballastian sisters’ parents left them in the magical Straygarden Place, a house surrounded by tall silver grass and floating trees. They left behind a warning saying never to leave the house or go into the grass. “Wait for us,” the note read. “Sleep darkly.” Ever since then, the house itself has taken care of Winnow, Mayhap, and Pavonine–feeding them, clothing them, even keeping them company–while the girls have waited and grown up and played a guessing game: Think of an animal, think of a place. Think of a person, think of a face. Until one day, when the eldest, fourteen-year-old Winnow, does the unthinkable and goes outside into the grass, and everything twelve-year-old Mayhap thought she knew about her home, her family, and even herself starts to unravel. With luscious, vivid prose, poet and author Hayley Chewins transports readers to a house where beloved little dogs crawl into their owners’ minds to sleep, sick girls turn silver, and anything can be stolen–even laughter and silence.
Winnow, Mayhap, and Pavonine are left alone in their house when their parents disappear, only leaving a note that says to wait for them and “sleep darkly” which is really ominous. The house supplies all that they need, food, clothing, and shelter, but they can’t leave and above all can touch the silvery grass that grows taller than the house. It is a very dark and secret garden that they live in. One day, Winnow, the oldest, leaves and ventures into the grass.
When Winnow returns, nothing is ever the same again. Gone with Winnow’s mind is her droomhund, Evenflee which helps her sleep. As Winnow starts to turn silver with her illness, the other two girls begin to unravel as well. Mayhap leaves as well to discover a cure for her sister but only comes back with another girl who is “woven from dirt and bat’s lungs”. If you are looking for an extremely poetic and creepy read, this is it. I was completely mesmerized by the writing which is just gorgeous.
Hayley Chewinsis an author and writing coach. She grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, in a house so full of books that she learnt to read by accident. She’s fond of telling people that she writes books about magical girls with secrets—even if that’s not an actual genre. Her books are literary fantasy, surreal fairy tales, or weird magic. (Or: all of the above.)
Her debut, The Turnaway Girls, was a Kirkus Best Book of 2018 and made the American Library Association’s Amelia Bloomer List of Best Feminist Books for Young Readers. Her second book, The Sisters of Straygarden Place, is forthcoming from Candlewick Press on October 13th, 2020, and has already been called “superb, spooky, and unforgettable” in a recent starred review. Hayley lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, with her soulmate/husband/fellow coffee addict, Liale, and their toy poodle, Darfer.She is represented by Patricia Nelson at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, otherwise known as The Most Amazing Agent Ever.
- What is on your nightstand?
An alarm clock, a notebook and pencil, and two books: STARFELL by Dominique Valente and FINDING YOUR OWN NORTH STAR by Martha Beck.
- What author would you totally fan?
Laini Taylor. Jessie Burton. Franny Billingsley.
- What makes you cringe?
- Do you obsessively plot out each point or just go with the flow?
90% going with my intuition, 10% brainstorming to figure things out.
- Is there a word you love to use?