Rebecca Behrens author
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MMGM: Sway

I’m really excited to join in the Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday fun, hosted every Monday by Shannon Messenger. Today I want to talk about Amber McRee Turner’s fantastic debut, Sway.

From the publisher (Disney*Hyperion):

For four long months,
ten-year-old Cass has been dreaming of the day her mom, Toodi, will come
home. But when Toodi’s welcome back party takes a turn for the
disastrous, Cass finds herself stuck alone with her dull-as-dirt dad,
who insists that they set off for the summer on a mysterious
adventure—just the two of them.


It turns out Cass’s dad has some
big-time surprises up his sleeve. Once they hit the road in an old RV
named The Roast, he introduces her to the amazing power of “Sway,” a
seemingly magical force that can bring inspiration and joy to people in
major need of help.


Adorable cover!
Cass can think of one particular person who could really use some Sway. If only she could track down Toodi, Cass knows
she could convince her mom to come home. But with the help of a little
home-spun magic, Cass realizes that the things she needs most have
always been within her reach.

Way back when I was a middle-grader, I read Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons, and I think part of me has been trying to recapture that reading experience ever since. Reading Sway, I finally did. Like Walk Two Moons, Sway is about a journey, both emotional and literal, in search of a mom and in search of something to believe in.

But I don’t mean to simply gush about Sway in terms of some similarities to one of my favorite books from my childhood. I loved Amber McRee’s limber use of language (reading this book, you’ll want to stop and read lines aloud to fully appreciate the wordplay), her richly drawn characters, and the playful humor that compliments the occasionally heartstrings-tugging plot. As someone who loves to read and write historical fiction, I loved the tidbits about historical figures worked into the story, too.

I can’t pick up a sliver of soap now without smiling and thinking of Cass.

9 Responses to MMGM: Sway

  1. Temre Beltz says:

    Thank you for this great review, Rebecca! I have been curious about this one for awhile – I LOVE the cover and the description sounds right up my alley. After reading your review, I definitely need to put this one up higher on my TBR list 🙂

  2. Welcome to Middle Grade Mondays, Rebecca, and congrats on When Audrey Met Alice.

    Sway sounds like a great coming-of-age story, and I like what you said about stopping to read lines aloud to appreciate them. I love it when books inspire me to do that.

  3. As I was reading this book’s summary and your review, I was thinking: This sounds like a book Temre Beltz would like. Then I saw her comment. 🙂 SWAY sounds absolutely charming… Perhaps I’ll read it with my girlie.

  4. This has been on my to-read list for awhile. I need to get my hands on a copy soon!

  5. Crystal says:

    That sounds like a fun read. I’ve long believed that there is a universal magic that comes when people need it–I’m super curious to see how Turner explores that!

  6. Liz Parker says:

    This sounds like a lovely, lovely book. I was thinking it sounded Walk Two Moons -esque before you mentioned it. Thanks for the review!

  7. DMS says:

    I love this cover and the story sounds equally wonderful. Walk Two Moons is a great book and I like that you made a comparison between the two. I look forward to reading this one. Great review!
    ~Jess

  8. I love a good journey story. Welcome to MMGM!

  9. Rebecca B says:

    I love how many others count WALK TWO MOONS as a favorite. I’m sure you’ll love SWAY, too!