Monday, May 20, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Devil's Backbone (with giveaway!)

Last fall Rae Ann Parker contacted me about editing a middle grade novel she was writing. She sent me her work, I gave feedback and ideas, she worked on it some more, and now what was once a draft I edited is Rae Ann's full-fledged book! A real, live, physical book titled The Devil's Backbone. And I have a copy to give away to one of you!

The premise: To save his friend from getting expelled, David Baxter takes full blame for the graffiti painted on the school. It's David's first strike, so he only gets suspended for three days. But David's juvenile judge dad forces David to take a roadtrip with him along the Natchez Trace Parkway--an old trail into Nashville used by postal riders and other travelers. What David keeps from his dad is that he meets a ghost on the trip--a 200 year-old, teen-aged ghost carrying the last letter of Meriwether Lewis. A letter that can solve a 200 year-old mystery. And maybe it can help David figure out his dad and forgive his mom, too.

What I loved: The ingenious blend of history and contemporary. Rae Ann Parker takes a fascinating setting--the Natchez Trace--and skillfully weaves it with legends of yesterday and tales of today. It's a historical novel set in the present. (Ingenious, like I said!) And the ghost in this story has a burden, a burden only a contemporary boy can lift. In addition, Rae Ann's mastery of middle grade voice cannot go unmentioned.

To enter the giveaway for a (signed!) copy of The Devil's Backbone simply comment on this post by 8pm CDT on June 2, 2013, and have a United States mailing address. Winner announced on June 3. Check other middle grade recommendations at Shannon Messenger's blog.

32 comments:

  1. Oh, this book sounds great! I'm always drawn to anything that features a ghost. So cool how this was a book you edited!

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  2. I've traveled the Natchez Trace. It's awesome. And what a great story.

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  3. Sounds like a great story. And awesome you helped edit it. Please let someone else win. Sorry, but I don't have time right now to read it.

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  4. Love the title! Did she self-publish, Barbara? I'm always interested in ghost stories and stories that delve into the past, yet are contemporary. But I've won three books on blogs recently, so please give this to someone else.

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    1. Yes, Rae Ann did self-publish through a publishing company called Gamekeepers Press. Also, the title has a cool connection to the setting...

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    2. Hi Joanne & Barbara!
      Joanne, I wanted to add to Barbara's comment. Yes, I self-published The Devil's Backbone. Gamekeeper's Press is my company. And yes, I love the title and the connection to the Trace.

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  5. Terrific story concept. I love mysteries and I love historical fiction, so this one is right up my alley. Thanks for running the giveaway and for the review.

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  6. What an interesting concept! I enjoy books that give you a bit of history with the story. And it's especially great when authors can do that in a way that interests young readers.

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  7. I love the historical element woven into present! Way to sneak a little history in :)

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  8. Barbara: Thank you for featuring The Devil's Backbone on Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday!

    Thanks to everyone who stopped by and for your comments. :-)

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  9. Oh how cool!!! You both must be proud. :)
    I love the 200 year ghost aspect of the plot and the fact that it adds to it instead of taking over the main plot.

    ~Akoss

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  10. How AWESOME! The Natchez Trace Parkway is one I know well, being a southerner and all. And a ghost story to boot. This book sounds fantastic. All the best to Rae with it! :o) <3

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  11. Sounds great! I'd love to read it. I hadn't heard of the Natchez Trace Parkway. Looks like I have some research to do.

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  12. A great review surely done by you.

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  13. I always love it when a book I've critted becomes a "real" book. :D

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  14. Cool premise for a story. Lewis and Meriwether are still immensely poplar figures from the past. Good luck to everyone!

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  15. That is an AWESOME premise! I'll have to check that one out!

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  16. How cool! It does sound like a great read!

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  17. I absolutely love historical/contemp. blends and this one sounds unique!

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  18. I'd be fascinated by that blend of history and contemp. Sounds great!

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  19. This sounds like a good read. I like historical/contemporary blends.

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  20. Sounds fantastic! The Trace runs through my town so I'm really looking forward to reading this one. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  21. Sounds Very interesting. I especially love the title...lol..since i have written a novel by the same name.
    No ghost in mine and it's set in 1880 near a mountain ridge named The Devils Backbone in Arkansas.

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  22. A historical novel set in the present? I love that.

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  23. How exciting that you got to edit this book and see it become the book it is today! It sounds like a fun blend of history and realistic fiction. Thanks for the introduction and giveaway.
    ~Jess

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  24. I am pretty sure you know not to enter me (in Canada), but just in case...don't enter me, eh? <<ha ha, bad bit of Canadian humoUr, oops there I go again.

    This book sounds _fabulous_. What a cool premise and nice to know she pulled it off! Have added it to the to reads.

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  25. How cool is it that you get to see something that you had a part in become a book?

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  26. Sounds fascinating! And you edited it, too! Congrats!

    Nas

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  27. How cool that a manuscript you edited is now a real book! It sounds very intriguing. I'm up to my neck in books right now, though, so please let someone else win the copy.

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  28. Congrats on your awesome editing! That is really cool. I love combining the contemporary with historical--wait--I think I know why... ;)
    If you get a chance, can you advise (as a wise dog person) on my frustrating morning described on my blog? Thanks.

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  29. I always love to see books in print that I've edited. So exciting. Glad to see Marsha won!

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