Grist

Grist

4.0 2
by Heather Waldorf
     
 

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Canadian Children's Book Centre Our Choice, 2007

White Pine Honour Book, 2008

Evergreen Teen Book Award Nominee, 2009

No one is who they seem to be in Charlie's world. Not her father, the boy she likes, or even the mysterious man from her mother's funeral.

Sixteen-year-old Charlie, an ambitious and dedicated writer who thinks her small-town life

Overview


Canadian Children's Book Centre Our Choice, 2007

White Pine Honour Book, 2008

Evergreen Teen Book Award Nominee, 2009

No one is who they seem to be in Charlie's world. Not her father, the boy she likes, or even the mysterious man from her mother's funeral.

Sixteen-year-old Charlie, an ambitious and dedicated writer who thinks her small-town life doesn't offer any material for her work, is sure of three things:

  • That her blow-up at her tactless creative writing teacher must have contributed to his heart attack,
  • That she doesn't want to spend her summer with her father's girlfriend and her triplets,
  • And that she has to get away.

She decides to spend the summer with her grandmother on remote Lake Ringrose in northern Ontario, where she thinks she can laze on a hammock all summer and get in touch with her mother's roots. Instead, she steps into a series of unexpected adventures that will alter her view of what seemed a dull and tedious existence. For one thing, she agrees to compete in the gruelling Four Islands Race. Then she falls for Kerry, a handsome local hunk, and wants to tell him how she feels. As revelation upon revelation builds, she discovers the unthinkable: Kerry is her half-brother and the man she's always taken to be her father isn't after all. And then there's the mystery of the Chocolate Moose Man, an almost mythical figure who turned up at her mother's funeral thirteen years before.

It's all rich grist for a keen-eyed young writer's mill, as Charlie learns that the best material comes not from exciting travels and circumstances, but from journeys to new places inside herself.

Editorial Reviews

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.

"Highly Recommended."

-- 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."

-- Kliatt

"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 cottage—and 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780889953475
Publisher:
Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Limited
Publication date:
05/30/2006
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.04(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Heather Waldorf is a full-time counsellor at a North York group home for adults with developmental disabilities. She earned her B.A. in fine arts studies at York University and her B.E.d. in adult education at Brock. She wrote the first draft of Grist during a coast-to-coast camping trip. This is her second YA novel, after Fighting the Current, which came out in 2005. A short story, "Jaws Goes Moose Hunting," was published in Transition magazine in 2005.

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Grist 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
M-W_McIntyre More than 1 year ago
This book is a great book for a person who loves mysteries and creative writing. The author did a great job at describing her story. I found myself lost in the thickness of the main characters life. I could relate to the issues she was going through, and would find myself not wanting to put the book down.