Christmas cheer may be an elusive emotion for some teens and grownups this holiday season. Tidings of comfort and joy can ring hollow for those who’ve suffered a recent tragedy, such as the loss of a loved one in their lives.
Maggie Vaults Over the Moon is a new novel that retells the story of Maggie Steele, a farm girl from tiny Grain Valley, Kansas, who suffers a major tragedy and then pours her broken heart into pole-vaulting. Written by Grant Overstake, the story chronicles Maggie’s difficult, painful rise to a brighter, hopeful future.
Kirkus Reviews calls Maggie, “A fine YA [young adult] novel about perseverance in sports and in life… Its themes will resonate with anyone who has suffered profound loss.”
The struggle to overcome is the driving force in Maggie Vaults Over the Moon. To help make the story a true source of hope and healing, the author asked a hospital chaplain and pastor to provide the character Grandma with just the right words help Maggie through the grief process.
According to the Rev. Tim Lytle, Maggie’s story is “the story of all of us.”
“It is the story of finding our inner strength, through the voice of wisdom and loving guidance,” Rev. Lytle said. “While this story is an excellent resource for any young person in their understanding of overcoming difficulties and grief, it is also a great resource for adults in their ongoing journey of discovery. Grant has wonderfully managed to gently place spiritual principles into a story in a way that touches all of us.”
At a time when too many novels for young people seem hopeless and filled with despair, Maggie has been praised for its uplifting message. According to Kirkus Reviews, “[The] novel exudes sweetness… it feels as if it takes place in another era, as it lacks the dark edge seen in other popular YA [young adult] stories.”
Maggie’s triumph over gravity has lifted the hearts of many readers. One of them who reviewed the book on Amazon.com, wrote, “Maggie Vaults Over the Moon is the perfect mood-elevator for any young person who has gone through, or is going through tough times – – in other words, every teen on the planet.”
Another wrote, “Getting to know Maggie Steele, her family, and the whole warm and caring community of Grain Valley was a pure delight. I cried with Maggie as she expressed her inner thoughts as she struggled through the process of grieving… I was inspired by her courage to confront her fears and doubts… transforming her feelings of hopelessness into joy.”
Many readers have taken Maggie’s story quite personally. Team USA pole vaulter Becky Holliday, a finalist at the 2012 London Olympics, says, “I myself experienced loss when I was a young girl. Sports were my outlet and helped me through some of the hardest times of my life. This book captured me cover to cover. I highly recommend Maggie Vaults Over the Moon!“
Doug Bouma, editor of VAULTER Magazine, wrote, “This inspiring tale celebrates the courage to turn tragedy and loss into something positive, and how the determination to master a sport can heal.”
Of course, Maggie’s story had a profound impact on the author himself.
“At one level, the story is about a girl’s struggle to vault over a rising crossbar,” Overstake said. “But at a deeper level, the bar symbolizes her journey upward from the depths of deep despair. It may seem strange, but I found myself crying right along with Maggie as her story emerged on the page. It was an emotional journey for me to write about her, to have tears of sadness become tears of joy.”
The author has been happy to learn that Maggie’s story has touched so many so deeply, including one thoughtful reader who bought 10 copies of the book to give to Operation Holiday in Wichita, to be distributed specifically to young teenage girls in need of hope this Christmas; and of yet another reader, who delivered seven copies of the book to the Wichita Children’s Home, as gifts of hope for young teenage girls.
Maggie is available at Amazon.com.