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Grease Town
Ann Towell
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Grease Town

3.43  ·  Rating Details ·  35 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
A heartbreaking history of prejudice, family ties, and the loss of innocence.When twelve-year-old Titus Sullivan decides to run away to join his Uncle Amos and older brother, Lem, he finds an alien and exciting world in Oil Springs, the first Canadian oil boomtown of the 19th century.

The Enniskillen swamp is slick with oil, and it takes enterprising folk to plumb its depth
Published February 9th 2010 by Tundra Books (first published January 13th 2010)
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Oh, little book, you sounded so interesting in concept, yet were so terrible in execution.

Set in a Canadian oil town during the American Civil War, this is a story of a young boy who stows away on his brother's wagon when his brother goes to work in the oil wells. Canada does not have slavery, so all men are free, and many African-Americans have migrated north to escape the war. But racism is still present, and they are forced to work for lower wages, which causes unrest among the white oil wor
I got this book free from Librarything Early Reviewers.

I want to say two things up front. The first is that the book has a picture of a black boy on the cover, understandable since the story is about a race riot, but the picture lead me to believe that the protagonist was black and it was awhile before I realized he wasn't. The fact that his name was Titus (the type of name masters often gave their slaves) didn't really help. Perhaps I should have realized the protagonist's race sooner, but I wi
Grease Town by Ann Towell is a children's historical fiction novel. Upon receiving this book in the mail, I had thought it was a book with a PoC main character, because there was a person of color on the cover. I was wrong in that regard, however, an African character does play a large role in the story, as do race relations.
Read the rest of my review here
Margo Tanenbaum
Curious about what happened to the slaves who ran away to seek freedom in Canada? Unfortunately, not everything went smoothly for all the runaways who made it to Canada. In this historical fiction novel for young people, author Ann Towell spins a tale based on a real race riot that took place in 1863.

The story is narrated by Titus, a 12-year old boy who stows away in his older brother's wagon to the Canadian oil fields in Oil Springs, Ontario, around the time of the Civil War. Titus has been liv
Nicola Mansfield
Jul 07, 2010 Nicola Mansfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reason for Reading: I'll pretty much read any juvenile/YA Canadian historical fiction on topics which are new or interesting to me.

Summary: Loosely based on a true incident in the Sarnia area of Ontario, Canada, this book tells the story of an oil boom town, the people who fled there and focuses on the friendship between a white boy and a black boy. The book's main historical event is a race riot which left the blacks homeless and very little actual information survives of it today.

Comments: I r
Apr 20, 2010 Teddy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
Grease Town is a young adult historical fiction novel. The story is told through 12 year old Titus Sullivan. His parents both died and he is being raised by his Aunt Sophie. His older brother, Lemuel decides to move to Oil Springs , Ontario where their Uncle Amos lives, to try to make his fortune in the oil business. Titus wants to go along to get away from their overbearing Aunt but Lemuel says he's too young.

Titus sees Lemuel off and then sneaks into the back of his wagon. He is discovered muc
Nov 10, 2016 TheKesser rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a nice easy read for me.
I went to hear the author speak on writing and I won a copy and she signed it, which was awesome!

Anyways, I really enjoyed the book. I liked the writing style and I enjoyed the main characters and how they interacted. They kept me reading.

The one thing that I really wish had been different though was the fact that main event that takes place at the end of the novel includes a family that really I didn't feel like I knew all that much about. So for me, it was ha
Tara Chevrestt
This is a novel aimed at the adolesent bracket, but my thirty year old self thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a touching story with a moral.

Thru the eyes of a twelve year old boy, Titus, readers see what life was like in a booming oil town in colonial Canada. During this time, America is engaged in the civil war and runaway slaves are running to Canada where they can be free... supposedly. Titus has his everyday twelve year old problems such as being small and somewhat sickly, dealing with girls, wo
Jul 07, 2010 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read2010
Grease Town follows 12 year old Titus Sullivan’s move to Oil Springs, Ontario. Titus is like many children on the cusp of their teen years, full of quick retorts before thinking their words through.

The novel shows a unique history to an American reader. Seeing how Canadian residents responded to fleeing whites avoiding war and escaped slaves seeking freedom, was an eye opening experience. There wasn’t a hundred year’s worth of foul sentiment, and so the trouble in Oil Springs simmers before comi
Nov 02, 2012 Dillon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grease Town by Ann Powell the book is about a boy that runs away when his brother went to drop oil off at some town and the boy runs on the carridge and gets caught when they stop at a farm i recommend this book to people that like olden day books.

it was interesting when he got caught because there was more action his auntie hated him so he jumped on the carridge and ran away.the boring part was the start not much things happened

Cindy Griffin
Grease Town is the story of Titus, a twelve year old white boy, and his friendship with Moses, a young black boy. Early in the book, Titus stows away in his brother s wagon and heads to Oil Springs, Ontario where he eventually meets Moses. Unhappy with the freed and escaped slaves in the area, bounty hunters stir resentment within the community. As the resentment builds and goes out of control, Titus is faced with decisions. He knows what he must do, but he is frightened of the consequences.[ret ...more
Rachel Seigel
The premise was good, but there were too many faults in the story to give it a 3 star rating. I give it two because I was interested enough to finish it. Firstly, the jacket copy refers to the main character as being fostered by his aunt Sophie, but there is no character named Sophie. She's his Aunt Sadie. Except that in one paragraph she is first refered to as Sadie, then Sophie, and then Sadie again for the rest of the book. The cover is also misleading. It would appear to be a "Black History" ...more
Feb 17, 2014 Barbra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this historical fiction novel twelve-year-old Titus tells the story of how he stowed away on his brothers wagon bound for Oil Springs Ontario in 1863. The Enniskillen swamp there is slick with oil and desperate people are trying to make their fortune. Titus befriends Moses, the son of a newly freed slave and soon learns about the cruelty of prejudice when a race riot breaks out. This well written story places the reader alongside Titus as he faces his own fears and struggles to do what is rig ...more
Darlene Foster
Aug 10, 2015 Darlene Foster rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good historical novel for kids. The novel describes the oil boom in nineteenth century southern Ontario and the problems that came with it; alcoholism, racial prejudice and even death. This is all seen through the eyes of twelve-year-old Titus Sullivan who soon learns that life can be hard, but that friendship and goodness are worth fighting for. The mixed emotions of a twelve year old are interwoven well throughout the story. Children will learn about Canadas past while being entertained ...more
Mar 04, 2011 Suzanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned-book
I tried really hard to like this book. It is historical fiction set in Canada, which is interesting because you usually don't find many Canadian historical fiction pieces. I found the book very confusing and lacking necessary details at times, especially when it came to the main character. I picked it up and put it down many times. Wasn't my cup of tea.
Jun 13, 2011 Louisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, it was really good, and I received it for review from Librarything, so thanks to them and the publisher! It was a bit short, but that might be becuase I'm used to reading about 300-400 pages a day, at least. But the characters were good, and yeah, I enjoyed it! It was a very good book, and I hope you guys check it out!
Apr 04, 2010 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
White Canadian boy Titus moves to the first oil boom town in that country to live with his uncle. Titus becomes involved in racial tension that is spilling over from the U.S. as a result of the civil war. A decent enough children's historical novel.
Nick.lumley rated it liked it
Nov 06, 2012
It was okay, though a bit confusing.
142as rated it it was ok
Feb 12, 2014
Melanie rated it liked it
Mar 24, 2015
T Sutherland
T Sutherland rated it it was amazing
Aug 30, 2016
Scott Williams
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Dec 08, 2015
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Apr 09, 2010
Jessica rated it liked it
Apr 12, 2012
Bev Walkling
Bev Walkling rated it liked it
Aug 21, 2012
Patrick rated it it was amazing
Oct 02, 2013
Tate rated it it was ok
Mar 27, 2011
Shirley rated it it was amazing
Jan 11, 2017
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ANN TOWELL was born in Chatham, Ontario, and grew up in Wallaceburg. She was co-finalist, with her husband, world-renowned photographer Larry Towell, for the Dorothea Lange/Paul Taylor Award for work on the Mennonites, a segment that appeared in the 1994 summer edition of Descant magazine. Her first children's novel, The Hollow Locust Trees, was published by Black Moss Press in 1998. She has four ...more
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