Jerry Harwood’s third YA novel is a tour de force of magic, mayhem and self-discovery for protagonist Simon, who turns out to have a lot more going for him than anyone thought.
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Thanks to all who have helped me with beta reads, editing, art, cover design, and in general fed me when I was holed up around my computer writing. And thanks to Simon, who came to me one day while watching a middle school soccer game. It is his story, not mine. I just got the joy of putting it on paper.
And here is some praise for the work:
Originality: Harwood is a middle school teacher and the father of six; his understanding of upper elementary school age kids, what will engage their attention, and their sense of humor is spot-on. This fantasy has all the right elements for this age group—wizards, magic, pre-teen social challenges, and adventure. A particularly refreshing element of this story is that it starts in a fantasy world, rather than taking the reader through a litany of events to get there.
Character Development/Execution: Simon is a completely believable middle schooler (aside from his wizarding powers, of course), portrayed with sympathy but without sentimentality. Simon discovers the power that will make him master of his own life, but the challenge is to learn to control it. The sensitive descriptions of Simon’s efforts to negotiate the complexities of middle school social life, find his strengths, and figure out girls show Harwood’s deep familiarity with and commitment to this age group.
Blurb: Jerry Harwood’s third YA novel is a tour de force of magic, mayhem and self-discovery for protagonist Simon, who turns out to have a lot more going for him than anyone thought.
- Plot/Idea: 10
- Originality: 10
- Prose: 10
- Character/Execution: 10
- Overall: 10.00
Report Submitted by Booklife Prizes: August 12, 2021
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