Saturday, 11 June 2022

Hazel Hill is Gonna Win this One.

by MAGGIE HORNE;

 

An Adventure Book Review by Erin the Cat Princess©

 

Hello, and welcome to my weekend Book Review featuring Tales & Adventures in Middle-Grade Fiction! 

 


Mrs H and I have spent the last few weeks editing our latest swashbuckling Middle-Grade adventure, provisionally titled 'Pirates and Privateers – the curse of Cardinal Camembert.' 

 

I have to say that it has shaped up really well, especially as Mrs H is not a pro-editor. Sudoku and cryptic crosswords are her things, which may explain why her handwriting is as illegible as a doctor's prescription! She says it's code from her days in the secret service. Me, I think it's the sherry. 

 

Either way, it has resulted in some rather strange goods being sent by the food delivery people 'Tres Chic Eats'. This week we got two dozen quill ends and a brace of pea soups. There was also an apology, as they had to substitute one item. As they didn't have any one-ton poodles, they sent a small Highland Terrier instead! I'll let you all figure out what should have been delivered 🙂. For a bit of fun, leave your answers below, and we'll see what delights you can come up with.


After the shopping fiasco, we needed a good book. So I pointed Mrs H to one of our favourite publishers, Firefly Press, and a soon-to-be-released book that had been sat on my bedside table for the last fortnight. I had been pawing my way through it and could tell it was something special. 

 

Moreover, it is set in America and has a strong underlying story. Mrs H had a tear when she read the end-page notes. "I'm very pleased we read this," she said, nodding sagely as she does when she's found something important. "I'll have a word with Ms Primm, the village school librarian and let her have this copy. You dictate the blog review to me, and we'll let the world know all about this story."

 

So, without further ado, I present Hazel Hill is Gonna Win this One.

 


© Firefly Press/Maggie Horne/Luna Valentine



The essential info:-



Hazel Hill is Gonna Win this One, by MAGGIE HORNE

 

Cover art by: the awesome LUNA VALENTINE

 

Published by: FIREFLY PRESS


Publication date: 18 OCTOBER 2022


Paperback ISBN: 978-19131 02975

 

Cover price for Paperback: £7.99, 

 

Kindle version? Yes


Hardback version? Yes

 

Pages 272.

 

Age range: Middle Grade (9-12 AND upwards)


Any dogs or cats? No


 

 

SPOILER ALERT


Yes, some as to plot direction and underlying themes and characters. 

 

 

Disclaimer. 

 

We are lucky enough to be approved by Firefly Press to review their books for you. We do this through either NetGalley or proof copies. We receive no remuneration for this but do take an enormous pleasure in sharing the books we enjoy. 



The plot


The Hazel Hill of the title lives in a town in America. She's 12. More of a loner by desire, she likes to keep her head down and get on with life. She thinks she doesn't need friends, and the easy-going, touchy-feely way they interact is not for her. For Hazel, who realises she is gay, all that stuff isn't who she feels she is or the attention she wants. Her goal is to get on with life and win the Speech Competition at school. Her motivation is to beat her nemesis, fellow seventh-grader Ella Quinn, who snatched the prize from her the previous year. 


Life ticks on by for Hazel, and all is pretty much good. If there was one fly in the ointment, besides her howling newborn baby brother, it was fellow seventh grader Tyler Harris. Very much a popular kid, he can do no wrong in the eyes of the teachers or his mother. He has the annoying habit of sharing his feelings and the crushes he has on other girls with Hazel. In fact, Hazel knows everything about Tyler, too much in fact. He shares it all because he thinks she's friendless and nobody will find out what he says.


And then it happens. Tyler drops the bombshell that Ella has a crush on her! How could he know? Was it a prank? Tyler seems bitter about his break-up with Ella. Scared of how this news will affect her life, Hazel needs to know if Ella feels the same way.


This is the catalyst for a tale that reveals Tyler's true nature. From a serial dater of 67.5% of the girls in that grade year alone, he becomes a serial online harasser. And the focus of his beastly attention appears to be Ella!


 

So, what did we think?

 

This story stands tall, proud and squarely against bullying and sexual harassment. 

 

A rare, empowering read: Enboldening, supportive, eloquent, and gender inclusive. 

 

It tackles supremely well a horrible issue that, for many school-age girls, and adults, has been tragically ignored or rejected. For some, it is even turned back on them as their own fault, leaving them scared and scarred.

 

Based on the author's own experiences, this wonderful story evolves as Hazel takes on the challenge to stop Tyler. Facing not only their fears but also parents and teachers, Hazel Ella and their friend, Riley, discover the path to getting the truth not just out there, but believed, is a tortuous one. 

 

As someone who suffered bullying and abuse, Mrs H says shrugging such things off or burying them within is not what we must do or encourage. There is no honour or bravery in suffering. And believing children are immune to such things is wrong. 

 

But, as all victims of abuse know, whatever age or gender, finding the strength to fight your corner and for what is right, to be heard, is incredibly difficult. Far more so for girls and women who most often pay a far higher price for sexual harassment. 

 

Finally, and by no means least, a significant strength of this book is that it will foster discussion. And that will raise awareness and thus open the door to save others from the same hurt. Of course, we all need to be on the same page to do that!


So . . . . 



Crunch time. 


Without a doubt, this book has a place in and should be discussed at every school. It works across the many levels of involvement from teacher to parent, friends and family.


As such, this well-crafted, thought-provoking, empowering story needs no additional recommendation from us. Buy, enjoy, & share with those that will benefit.




Want to buy a copy?

 

Pre-orders are available now!  To get a copy, please do think of your local independent bookshop. There are plenty out there, and each is just waiting to serve up a treasure of literal magical resource, fun and adventure with a personal touch.

 

Maggie Horne's  WEB page is currently unavailable.

 

Firefly Press' web page can be found HERE.  or enter https://fireflypress.co.uk/books/hazel-hill/

 

If any authors or publishers wish us to review their books, please do get in touch. Details are listed on our book review page.


© Erin the Cat Princess.
 

And I leave you with a picture of me watching Mrs H toil in the garden!

Till laters!

ERin

 


 

 

20 comments:

  1. That sounds like a book filled with much material for all kinds of discussions.
    Its good to see you sunbathing, Erin, while you snoopervise your Mom!

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  2. It is. What we as a society need is more talk then possitive action.
    ERin

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  3. Erin, you are so discerning when it comes to literature. You are one smart girl! Enjoy the sun.

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    Replies
    1. We choose the books we like to share very carefully, which makes reviews so much easier :)
      Purrs
      ERin

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  4. Replies
    1. Thank you, we support all such books, though are sad that we still have to teach these things. Oh yes, the sun is nice, but the wind has been sooo strong of late we havent been out much. Purrs ERin

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, so little time to live and share the lights of the world. If you need to contact Valentine's staff, then do email them direct. The garden is a fine place, but just as transient as life.
      ERin

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  6. That is a lovely picture of you, Erin - and it's good to know that you are keeping an eye on Mrs H.

    We are guessing the one-ton poodles were meant to be wonton noodles...

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    Replies
    1. Oh my, yes, you are spot on! Congrats on a great guess! The weather is, however, not congrats, MOL

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  7. Erin you are as lovely as ever my sweet English furriend

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    Replies
    1. Hello anony-mouse. Thank you for the compliment. This is a great book, equally as nice as me ;)
      ERin

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  8. Your book sounds super interesting and the Hazel Hill book sounds darn good too. Sweet Princess, that's a lovely photo of you!

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    1. Thanks, Brian, I think my USA pals will be keen to enjoy this story for the kids around them. Mrs H got a rare chance to snap a picture of me so we shred this too!
      ERin

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  9. ERin ewe beelookin gorgeouz, and
    thiz commint haz nothin ta
    due with thiz post… we wanna
    say HI ina hurree…. coppee N
    paste helpin two day….now
    coz oh data time we hafta
    scurree😸😸❤️❤️

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why thank you for stopping by. Even in a hurry it is lovely to see you and the Food Service Girl.
      Purrs
      ERin

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  10. Supurr review Erin, that sounds like a good read!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. Yes, it has lots going for it, and is very inclusive without being labouring.
      ERin

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  11. I love books like this that set good examples. We hope you're enjoying your time in the sun, ERin.

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    Replies
    1. Good examples for sure. Check out next week's story for an empowering MG set in 1879!
      ERin

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