I’m excited to be able to review and release this book because not only is Johanna Harness an excellent author, but because she’s been a great force for authors all over the net. If you have ever used the #amwriting hashtag, you’ve got Johanna to thank! She’s made it possible for authors to connect, learn and hone their craft. I even wrote several articles for the Amwriting website when it was still up and running. I met several others through the tag, as well as developed a relationship with Johanna herself. I was very excited to be a part of her release and I hope you all will enjoy the book as much as I did!
Genre: Middle Grade
Goodreads Rating: 5
My Rating: 4 stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
A Spillworthy is an idea so good, it has to be shared and ten-year-old Ulysses Finch doesn’t let being homeless get in his way. He scrawls his best thoughts on pizza boxes, releases them into the wild, and relishes every response. After moving to Idaho, Ulysses finds Gem Rost’s journal and dives into reading it. She must be a kindred spirit! Or is she?
Firstly, as an author myself, I love the idea of a Spillworthy. To release your words unto the world, to share your art, even with just one person, is powerful and the idea of this ten-year-old homeless boy has so many hardships yet still wants to be able to touch the lives of others is a pretty amazing one.
The story is told via journal entries which allows the reader to really get to know the characters. You get to join them as they have their adventures but the reader can see the bigger picture, the problems of these characters, how they deal with them and how other people see them.
Some of Ulysses’s actions and reactions contradict his large (for a homeless ten-year-old) vocabulary and more adult philosophies but I liked the character so much I could suspend disbelief and just go with the flow of the story.
It’s a powerful story about having a voice. Even though it’s aimed towards a middle grade reader, adults will enjoy it and it can be a great read for parents and their children to read together and discuss.
In addition: This review is a little different because not only did I want to share that this was a great read, I am going to release a paperback copy of Spillworthy into the world for someone else to catch and read and hopefully pass along after. I had a hard time deciding where I was going to release my copy. I wanted to work something out with a teacher friend, but the timing just wasn’t right. I wanted to put it in a park, but the weather has been so up and down I wasn’t sure the sun would be out long enough for kids to get out there and find it. I finally settled on releasing it in my favorite writing haunt, the local Starbucks. It is packed with other writers and parents grabbing a drink with their kids before or after sports/activities. Since the day is lovely and folks are outside enjoying their caffeinated beverages, I left it on a chair by a table in the sun. I know someone will pick it up and enjoy it as much as I did.