[Author’s note: One of the greatest thrills a newly-published author can experience is to have a reviewer get excited about his or her first novel. I’m delighted that ‘Maggie’ earned a stellar recommendation from Fran Lewis, one of the blogosphere’s most prolific and influential book reviewers! Like so many who follow this blog, Fran loved her journey to Grain Valley, Kansas. She grasped the story’s message, and she fell in love with Maggie, Alex, Troy, Grandma, and all the other characters. Thank you, Fran, for reading my book, and for giving Maggie ‘Five Gold Medals’ and ‘Five Golden Moons!’ — Grant Overstake]
Book reviewer Fran Lewis is a distinguished retired educator who worked in the New York City Public Schools as the Reading and Writing Staff Developer for over 36 years. She holds three masters Degrees and a PhD in Supervision and Administration. She is a member of Who’s Who of America’s Teachers and Who’s Who of America’s Executives from Cambridge. A successful writer and author, Fran has published ten books in various genres. She manages the ReviewingYourBook: Outstanding Authors on Facebook; and hosts two radio shows, The World Of Ink Network and Red River Writers, via Blog Talk Radio. A prolific reviewer of books, Fran posts her reviews on her blog Just Reviews, and at Shelfari, and has reviewed nearly 400 books as a five-star reviewer at Amazon.com! Above all, Fran is devoted to fighting Alzheimer’s disease, to honor her mom and create awareness for a cure.
Maggie Flies High
Maggie Vaults Over the Moon by Grant Overstake
Reviewed by Fran Lewis
Life on a farm is quite different from that in the city. Maggie Steele is a young teenage girl whose ties to her family are more than just refreshing. Working alongside of brother and father during harvesting season and helping with chores was a team effort and never considered work. But, one moment in time would forever change her life and one emergency call the dynamics of her family. What happens when your brother the person who centers you and cares about you as your best friend is suddenly taken away from you in a car accident? What happens when your boyfriend is taken along with him? Maggie Steele would forever remember when the Reverend delivered the message to her and her mother that Alex was no longer with them and her life was going to change.
Emptiness, despair, denial and loneliness and a hollow space that can never really be filled are just part of what she and her family go through. A small town in Kansas, Grain Valley, with friends and neighbors that provide some support and guidance Maggie finds herself lost within herself and her own thoughts never wanting to let the memory or her brother’s presence go. Life changes for Maggie and her parents but one thing is constant is the love and guidance of her grandmother as he anger gets the better of her at times, the funeral is difficult and the harsh realities begin to set in. But, Maggie has an inner strength that comes through from the start and although she finds it difficult at times to express her true feelings and often becomes angry, she is now faced with helping her father harvesting the grain, learning to drive the big truck and proving to herself that she can handle just about anything given the chance. There is so much more to this story as we learn more about Maggie, her desires and the turmoil within herself to decide where she wants life to take her after the storm finally ends.
Author Grant Overstake takes us inside the world of farming, sheep contests and much more. Research into these fields had to be extensive as the reader feels that he/she is going along with Maggie every step of the way on her first harvest, and then being nominated for Homecoming Queen. When Maggie learns she has been nominated her encounter with the teacher in charge is quite unique. As the teacher has no idea about her past, why she does not want to run and the way she is convinced to continue is priceless. Families find and deal with losses on different levels and in different ways. Losing my best friend, my sister last year allowed me to truly understand how Maggie felt and why she became angry so often. That’s an emotion I can identify with and wanting to remember her brother and keep his presence with her at all times is what drives her each day. Then, something happens to change everything as she finds herself in the barn one night and hears a voice that will send her in a direction she would embrace and never forget. Just whose voice this might be will not be revealed. But, first let me share with you the amazing night she had when she won Homecoming Queen and the connection she made with a wonderful young man named Troy. Connecting with this unknown voice drives her forward to move ahead.
Senior year is supposed to be special yet to Maggie at times it was just like everything else. Her classes all seemed to blend together and at times she appeared distracted. Meeting Troy was a positive and going out with him definitely a great move. But, in the barn her brother maybe he left it for her in some way but showed her that maybe learning to pole-vault would help her to fly over that magical moon and find her own special place in the world and identity. Sports is a great way to release energy, compete, get in shape and much more. As she trains in the barn the reader becomes involved as the vaults increase in height and she becomes more adept. Sports are a great release and the book follows from the middle until the end her amazing transformation. Sometimes we need a little magic, miracle and faith in order to bring the message home.
Maggie Vaults Over the Moon: Pick a goal and do your best to attain it. Does Maggie reach the heights she wants to vault as she puts it over the moon? Will her life remain in the farm or will she realize that she is still some might say a masterpiece in the works? Read this outstanding novel that I think both adults and young adults will learn from as Maggie, Amanda, Troy, Scott and a wonderful man named Mr. Bright present to the reader some invaluable lessons in life along with our outstanding author.