Review of The Fire, The Water, and Maudie McGinn for #ReadYourWorld Day
Guest Post and Review by Jodi Murphy
Many of the people who encountered Maudie told her she had glitches. She believed them. But the real flaw is that those people look at her from a lens that says she is broken and “less than.” Even her mom wants her to act in a way she’s determined is normal, but Maudie is so much more than ordinary.
The Fire, The Water, and Maudie McGinn is a beautiful, sometimes haunting, and always inspiring coming-of-age story about a young autistic teenager named Maudie McGinn. She loves summers because that’s when gets to stay with her dad, her safe harbor of acceptance. A raging wildfire disrupts this summer season and Maudie and her dad have to evacuate to his old hometown on the beach.
Change is challenging for Maudie who worries that her “glitches” will keep her from connecting with others and making new friends. She’s willing to try because the thought of going back to her mom and stepdad is too much for her to handle. She’s worried too about what her stepdad did to her that her mom says she can never, ever, share with anyone.
Sally J. Pla is an award-winning author of books about young people whose brains work a bit differently, including the novels The Someday Birds and Stanley Will Probably Be Fine, and the picture book Benji, The Bad Day, And Me. Her newest novel, The Fire, The Water, and Maudie McGinn, will be out in July 2023 and I had the privilege of receiving an advanced reader’s edition in order to review the book for Multicultural Children’s Book Day.
This contemporary middle-grade novel does have a few flashback scenes involving emotional and physical abuse. It’s an important part of this compelling story about a resilient girl who ultimately finds herself in spite of the stories she’s been told about who she is and what she’s capable of being.
“Your worth? It’s deep, and beautiful, and baked right into you.”
I believe that’s the message young readers will leave with after reading this book. I encourage you to preorder The Fire, The Water, and Maudie McGinn to set your middle-schoolers up for an exciting, inspiring, and empowering summer of reading!
More on Sally J. Pla and The Fire, The Water, and Maudie McGinn
- Linktree: https://linktr.ee/sallyjpla
- Website: https://sallyjpla.com/
- A Novel Mind Resource: https://www.anovelmind.com/
Jodi Murphy is ally for neurodiversity and inclusion—her storytelling nonprofit, Geek Club Books, championed autistic voices to change the narrative about autism. She’s the executive producer of Dorktales Storytime, a podcast for kids and their geeky grownups, created by a neurodiverse team of creatives. She’s an active member of Kids Listen, a nonprofit dedicated to high-quality content for kids and serves on the Multicultural Children’s Book Day Board to help get diverse books into the hands of children, schools and libraries.
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