A moving, bittersweet tale reminiscent of Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons set in a West Virginia coal-mining town
When her brother dies in a fire, Sasha Harless has no one left, and nowhere to turn. After her father died in the mines and her mother ran off, he was her last caretaker. They’d always dreamed of leaving Caboose, West Virginia together someday, but instead she’s in foster care, feeling more stuck and broken than ever.
But then Sasha discovers family she didn’t know she had, and she finally has something to hold onto, especially sweet little Mikey, who’s just as broken as she is. Sasha even makes her first friend at school, and is slowly learning to cope with her brother’s death through writing poetry, finding a new way to express herself when spoken words just won’t do. But when tragedy strikes the mine her cousin works in, Sasha fears the worst and takes Mikey and runs, with no plans to return. In this sensitive and poignant portrayal, Sarah Dooley shows us that life, like poetry, doesn’t always take the form you intend.
About the Author
Sarah Dooley has lived in an assortment of small West Virginia towns, each of which she grew to love. Winner of the 2012 PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship, she has written two previous novels for middle-grade readers. Sarah is a former special education teacher who now provides treatment to children with autism. She lives in Huntington, West Virginia, where she inadvertently collects cats. She’s a 2006 graduate of Marshall University.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book helped me change my view of coal miners and gave me the chance to feel the burdens, joys and impact of that lifestyle. Poetry was an amazing medium for this story.
Free Verse is one of those books that is going to hit you hard. Definitely harder than you would think a middle grade novel would hit... At least that was the case for me. Free Verse is about Sasha. Her father had died in an accident at the mine. Her mother had run off. She was being taken care of by her older brother...who then died in a fire. Leaving her alone in the world, with no one to turn to. She and her brother had held on to the dream of escaping their small mining town, and it is a dream she finds hard to let go of after he is gone. So she has a tendency to run. Sasha ends up in the foster system, being taken care of by a lady who lives in her small town. And then it turns out that her new neighbors are actually family members of hers. Sasha gets to learn more about the family and becomes close, especially with her younger cousin - who just may have more problems than she does. So, I already told you that this was a hard hitting book, and it definitely was. Sasha has a lot of problems due to the things that have happened to her. The loss, the grief, the abandonment. It has all taken its toll on her. She tends to run away a lot when she gets angry or confused. At one point Sasha finds herself learning about poetry and discovers it as an outlet for her emotions, thus the title Free Verse. I actually thought that the book would have more of the poetry in it than it actually did...so I was a little disappointed in that regards. Over all though, I did appreciate the message and the story contained within Free Verse. Definitely for those who want an emotional read. My Rating 4 Stars Find more of my reviews here: http://readingwithcupcakes.blogspot.com/ This review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.