From the Publisher
"[Heather] Waldorf manages to incorporate numerous issues in this book, and yet she does so in a way that allows the book to shine as a thoughtful, engaging read rather than feeling leaden with the weight of too much teen angst. The characters are truly winsome, well-realized and believably flawed; the small-town flavour of the community is beautifully evoked and the issues that are raised are handled sensitively but without melodrama. It is a compelling book that is peopled with characters who are utterly true-to-life; they are people I'd like to know, people whose stories I genuinely cared about.
-- CM MAgazine
"Waldorf is an interesting new author who clearly does not shy away from thorny situations."
-- School Library Journal
"Waldorf tells Char's story in a straightforward manner, navigating family harmony and conflict to a surprise conclusion. This story is recommended for aspiring writers, and for those confused about the complexities of family and intimate love."
"Heather Waldorf is undoubtedly one of Canada's finest new young adult novelists. Her first novel, Fighting the Current, was an absolute jewel, and Grist is just as good. Starting off with bright, original dialogue from engaging main character Charlie and her hilariously eccentric English teacher Mr. Pollen, the plot unfolds at a steady pace until the dramatic climax where all secrets are revealed. But instead of a too-quick, letdown of a denouement, Waldorf allows the novel to take its time, rearranging all the plot strands into a new pattern, permitting heroine Charlie to see how her life isn't "destroyed" by this news, it's just going to look a little different from what she thought. Grist is a fantastic book and should go on everyone's summer reading list."
-- YA Reviews
KLIATT - Holley Wiseman
Char's creative writing teacher refers to facts, people, and events in life as grist: details that lend themselves to good creative writing. This summer Char is headed north to stay with Grams on remote Lake Ringrose, where canoes replace cars, raccoons check the pantry for snacks, and everyone knows your name; her teacher has instructed her to be on the lookout for grist. Lake Ringrose is the place Char's mom Geri grew up and spending the summer there will change Char's life forever. Family secrets and surprises are uncovered one by one until the identity of the mysterious Chocolate Moose Man is finally revealed. Along the way Char meets Kerry (with the Brad Pitt lips), realizes her true feelings for Sam, and discovers Geri's sketchbook, from which she will discover more questions than answers about the past. Like it or not, grist is everywhere she looks at Lake Ringrose. Waldorf tells Char's story in a straightforward manner, navigating family harmony and conflict to a surprise conclusion. This story is recommended for aspiring writers, and for those confused about the complexities of family and intimate love.
VOYA - Kristen Moreland
Waldorf's vivid descriptions of the Canadian wilderness draw the reader in and create a lush, realistic backdrop for this story of a lost teen finding herself. Readers will be able to relate to the confusion of emotions that Charlie experiences, and they will recognize the common struggle between what a person knows is right and what one actually does in the situation. Some teens may be able to predict the book's big twist, which takes away from the overall enjoyment of this story.
VOYA - Jenny Ingram
Frustrated with her widower father's new girlfriend, with her best friend's relocation to Australia, and with recent heavy criticism from her creative writing mentor, sixteen-year-old Charlie chooses to spend the summer in a remote Canadian lakeside village with her active maternal grandmother. There she gains a sense of self and competence by learning to canoe and make repairs on her grandmother's sagging cottageand by learning about her mother, who died when Charlie was four years old. She befriends Kerry, the local bad boy, who becomes the catalyst for Charlie's uncovering of a family secret that quickly dampens their romance. Waldorf's characters are complex and show depth, and she clearly has insight into oddball characters and small-town life. Charlie's first-person narrative maintains a good pace and lets the reader in on her episodes of self-discovery. The story has enough tension to keep the reader engaged, but some aspects of the plot are predictable. Careful editing would have been desirable for this book in places. Nevertheless casual readers will enjoy this short novel.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up
Sixteen-year-old aspiring writer Charlie faces a bleak summer in Springdale, Canada. Her widowed father is increasingly preoccupied with his new girlfriend. Her best friend and crush, Sam, has moved to Australia. And she has fallen out of favor with her beloved creative-writing teacher, who challenges her to gather the grist of life experiences as fuel for her writing. So she heads for her grandmother's cottage in remote Lake Ringrose, Ontario, hoping to reconnect with the memory of her mother. Despite Gram's warnings, Charlie is drawn to reformed bad boy Kerry, and the two quickly bond. But family secrets are spilled, and the lovebirds learn that they are half siblings (to quote Char, "eewwwwww "). The previously flirty pair awkwardly shift to a brotherly/sisterly rapport as they rebound from the revelation. Isolated Lake Ringrose is nicely rendered; it provides a believable small-town gossip mill and useful plot points. Charlie and Kerry's almost-consummated relationship keeps pages turning, but the story suffers from wooden dialogue and uncomfortable imagery ("years of stress drain from his body like pus from a wound"). Grist will likely not join the ranks of Judith Rossner's Emmeline (S & S, 1981) or even Francesca Lia Block's Wasteland (HarperCollins, 2003), but Waldorf is an interesting new author who clearly does not shy away from thorny situations.
Amy PickettCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.