Friday, February 07, 2014

Review: The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky by Holly Schindler

Title: The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky
Author: Holly Schindler
Publisher: Dial
Release date: February 6th 2014 
Pages: 240
Genre: Middle Grade; contemporary
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
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August “Auggie” Jones lives with her Grandpa Gus, a trash hauler, in a poor part of town. So when her wealthy classmate’s father starts the House Beautification Committee, it’s homes like Auggie’s that are deemed “in violation.” Auggie is determined to prove that she is not as run-down as the outside of her house might suggest. Using the kind of items Gus usually hauls to the scrap heap, a broken toaster becomes a flower; church windows turn into a rainbow walkway; and an old car gets new life as spinning whirligigs. What starts out as a home renovation project becomes much more as Auggie and her grandpa discover a talent they never knew they had—and redefine a whole town’s perception of beauty, one recycled sculpture at a time. Auggie’s talent for creating found art will remind readers that one girl’s trash really is another girl’s treasure.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I loved Holly Schindler's previous books, A Blue So Deep and Playing Hurt, but I was still a little wary of The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky because I just don't read as much MG. And while this book definitely has a younger feel to it, which means it's not going to be a personal favorite of mine, I did really enjoy it.

Holly Schindler's writing is great, and while her style in The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky is very different from the darker, more mature style or her YA books, it works really well with this reading level too. Auggie's voice is honest, real, and endearing, making this a very quick read. Holly Schindler has made this story equal parts entertaining and poignant, while also subtly incorporating an important message.

I enjoyed each storyline in The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky. Auggie's relationship with her grandfather Gus is the sweetest thing. I also liked the honesty in Auggie's relationships with her peers, especially her jealousy of getting ditched by her best friend. And of course the main storyline of Auggie standing up to the House Beautification Committee is great, too.

The only thing I didn't love is the ending. Things wrapped up a little too neatly and quickly for my taste. Holly Schindler had developed a good conflict between Auggie's neighborhood and the city council, and the resolution seemed underdeveloped and unrealistic. The same goes for the family storyline and the character of Auggie's mother: I wanted a more in-depth exploration of Auggie's feelings about this, even if the topic might be hard to explore in a middle grade novel. I also wanted to see a stronger ending to Auggie's conflict with Lexie, her ex-best friend, and Vanessa, Lexie's new BFF: I wanted to understand both of their characters better. The ending was too easy and happy for my taste, but again, that might just be because of the target audience.

Despite my issues with the ending, I really liked this book. With a great balance of entertainment and a poignant, inspiring message, The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky is a cute read I really enjoyed.


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