Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Wing Nut” as Want to Read:
Wing Nut
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Wing Nut

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  283 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
"Grady, can you pick up that wing nut for me?"
"The what?"
"The wing nut I just dropped. It has two little projections on it that look like wings. It fell into that patch of grass."
Grady dropped to his knees and felt through the grass until he found it. He couldn't help smiling about the name--wing nut. That was the perfect description of Charlie Fernwald and his crazy at
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published May 1st 2005 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Shannon Hitchcock
Sep 09, 2009 Shannon Hitchcock rated it it was amazing
In my opinion, the best middle grade novels tell a great story, teach me something that I knew very little about, and have an underlying theme. WING NUT by Mary Jane Auch did all of those things.

Twelve-year-old Grady Flood and his mom, Lila are homeless. When their car breaks down in rural Pennsylvania, Lila accepts a job cooking for an elderly widower.

Old Charlie Fernwald is a skilled mechanic and has a passion for birds, called purple martins. Charlie's home is like a magnet for the birds and
Melissa McShane
This is a sweet, lovely story about people searching for a home--not just a physical place to settle, though that's very important to Grady and his mother Lila, but also the connection between people that makes anyplace home. The relationship between young Grady Flood and old Charlie Fernwald is simply charming, and I love the details about birdwatching and purple martins.
Ste Ven
I enjoyed this book. It was really realistic as if this story plot can actually happen. This book has a good moral of finding the best out of the worst situations as showed from actions of Lila, Grady's mom. Their teamwork and understanding is special. After Grady's dad died it has just been the two of them, and they've been through a lot. They have been continuously moving as they have never felt like a real home and have always been picked at and look down towards. On their last trip, they pas ...more
Jun 04, 2010 Noah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like this book because the main character lost his dad 7 years ago just like me. Because Grady and his mom have no money they lose there house. They have to travel place to place because his mom needs to find work but she has little education. She is very good at cooking. They are living in a commune were Grady's mom cooks. The people at the commune use her car and don't take care of it. They decide to leave the commune in Kentucky and can only make it to Pennsylvania before there car brakes d ...more
May 10, 2010 Nicole rated it liked it
This book is about the journey of a mother and son on their own trying to find a new home. After his dad died a twelve-year-old boy named, Grady Flood,is living a life that he and his mother hadn't wished for. They go out in look of a new home but their car breaks down and they have no choice but to take it to a mechanic to fix it. Meanwhile their car gets fixed, Grady's mother has to work three jobs and Grady feels as though he's no help to anyone around him. I like this book because it can re ...more
Caden Severs
Aug 22, 2011 Caden Severs marked it as to-read
Wing nut is a book about a mother (Lila) and son ( Grady) and their problems with people and money.. Grady and Lila are always on the move moving from town to town, and when they move they always just drive, never have a place in mind. Well the car they have is a piece of junk and is always getting worked on and fixed with ductape. It finally dies in a small town in pennslyvania. Lila finds a job as a cook at a restaurant and house keeper for an old man who's family wants him to start eating hea ...more
Jan 07, 2009 Trish rated it liked it
Very predictable, but a happy read. There were some surprises about what's really going on because the reader is kept in the dark until the moment of pressure release. It's good to not have all the answers, but then again, it makes the level of drama a bit much. I'm splitting hairs, though, it really was a good story.

I liked the analogy between the main character's life and the life of the birds he learned to care for. The funniest part of the book was at the same time we learn the reason for th
Augusta Scattergood
I picked Wing Nut up from the display shelf of my local library's Florida Sunshine Reader Awards and from the beginning I was hooked. A kid, his mom, a hippie commune, an old man, his purple martins- such disparate elements weave into a story that is just plain fun to read. The developing relationship of 12-year-old Grady and what seems to be a grumpy old man is an important element that's never sentimental, often humorous. I just loved the writing, the story, the characters, the title- everythi ...more
Oct 18, 2011 Faith rated it really liked it
Ever since Grady's dad died, his mother and him have been traveling place from place. His mother would find a job and get a roof over their heads, but if she got angry at anyone they would leave. Now with a broken car the only job there is, is with an old man named Charlie.

Reasons I like this book-

Reason 1- Grady has a soft heart. He saved the house sparrows, but he didn't realize the trouble this would cause. I have a soft spot for all animals, except snakes.

Reason 2- The characters are very un
Feb 28, 2008 Jean rated it really liked it
A young widow, and her son Grady move from place to place to scrape out a living. When their car breaks down Lila finds a job with a cranky old man named Charlie as a cook. Grady becomes Charlie’s companion and learns about purple martins and auto mechanics. But Grady doesn’t understand why Charlie traps and kills the house sparrows that invade his property. He begins setting them free, and then discovers that they have tragically killed Charlie’s favorite purple martin named after his dead wife ...more
Jun 21, 2009 Sherrie rated it really liked it
9th of 15 books to read this summer for the 6th to 8th grade SSYRA selections. Ever since his father died, Grady and his mom have been wanderers, never putting down roots. A broken down car forces them to stay in a small Pennsylvania town where Grady's mom finds work as a cook/caretaker for an elderly man. The man keeps purple martins (birds) and soon enlists Grady as his reluctant apprentice. This is a quick read, with interesting (if predictable) relationships.
Min Chaiyapatranun
Jul 12, 2013 Min Chaiyapatranun rated it liked it
Grady the main character has traveled to many places with his mom ever since his father died when he was very young. They managed to settle in with an old man named charlie who was very into birds and engines. Grady didn't like it there at first, but then as he started to fit in with Charlie he didn't want to leave anymore. Eventually something happened to Charlie's birds which nearly got Grady and his mother kicked out of his place. It was a good book.
Jul 04, 2016 Bailey rated it liked it
Shelves: to-buy
I thought this book was great, however, i gave it three stars because of the whole purple martins and house sparrow thing. I wasn't quite understanding that and so I would rate less. The story line was very cute. The plot line was amazing. But it all boiled down to the birds. Great read and would highly recommend.
Jan 20, 2013 Angela rated it really liked it
Very short, sweet, innocent read. It kind of had that "Winn-Dixie" feel to it (only-child being raised by single parent because other parent died/ran off; kid and parent move to small town; kid befriends older person). It was definitely different from what I usually read, but it was nice... kind of refreshing.
Apr 26, 2010 Henry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I would compare this book to a value meal. Have you seen the commercial where the guy orders the burger value meal and the clerk behind the counter takes a regular burger and removes the lettuce, tomato, cheese, pickles, etc? It'll due in a pinch but lacks the extra something to make it filling. It was good, but could have been better
Maddie Corwin
Mar 19, 2011 Maddie Corwin rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing book. I absolutely loved how it's written and how the story unfolds. The characters were very well described. I got a perfect mental picture of how they acted. This is a truly remarkable book.
Aug 10, 2008 Marie rated it really liked it
I have been reading some books to use in the fall at school. This is a delightful tale of a 12 year old Grady, his Mom, and Old Charlie Fernwald. Also you learn fascinating information about purple martins throughout the book. Enjoyable-tender-real-engaging-and much to discuss!
Sandy Runions
May 04, 2016 Sandy Runions rated it it was amazing
Wing Nut is a great title. We need the screws and wing nuts to fix the car that quit at the edge of town. The old man is also crack about purple martins. Get it "wing" nut? Along with that is a great story of people trying to make it in the world.
Sad, sweet, and very bipolar. One minute, everyone is fine and then, BAM! Everyone is yelling and upset and Lila is threatening to leave Charlie and stuff. Then, about 5 pages later, they're all happy and nice. So wierd.
Sue Black
Aug 10, 2009 Sue Black rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grady and his mother move around from place to place after Grady's father's accident which caused his death. No place feels like home until they end up with Charlie. Grady learns a lot about birds, cars, and most importantly how to trust and care about somebody else.
This book was well written but the topic was not something that I was interested in reading about. I can think of the niche that would be interested in reading this book, those who want to read realistic fiction that is somewhat serious.
Oliver Eastwood
Oct 17, 2016 Oliver Eastwood rated it really liked it
This was a good book. Captivating plot, excellent character development.. it was all there. The only thing stopping it from getting 5 stars is that it's written for a younger audience, so when I read it, it seems quite juvenile.
Sep 28, 2010 Lance rated it liked it
The story of a kid who's dad died and he and his mom have moved all across the country and finally find a place to call home.
Jul 17, 2009 Sitara rated it liked it
Jul 01, 2009 Terre rated it really liked it
Awesome look at intergenerational relationships and the valuable lessons we can learn from each other.
Hunter Spiffy_Amazing_Supurb
Feb 25, 2008 Hunter Spiffy_Amazing_Supurb rated it it was amazing
This book is a great book. It's a rollercoaster of differences and yet it all groups together in the end. I HIGHLY reccommed (SP) it.
Louise Jones
Jan 11, 2010 Louise Jones rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed this story of a boy's dreams answered when he and his mother arrive at the home of an old man named Charlie, who becomes a grandfather figure.
May 22, 2012 Shannon rated it liked it
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
Read for a conference. Touching story of boy and older neighbor. Slow moving but offers interseting tibits on birds and migration with online resource guide.
Cole Gritton
Oct 19, 2009 Cole Gritton rated it it was amazing
I loved it! I never knew there was a bird called a purple martin. Even though this book was fiction, I learned a little about birds.
Oct 21, 2009 Bolly rated it really liked it
this book was very good, one of my favorites. charlie fernwald to me was a perfect character for the title of this book!! :)
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
charlie fernwald 1 9 Oct 21, 2009 06:18AM  
  • Gabriel's Horses
  • Defiance
  • Airball: My Life in Briefs
  • Billy Creekmore
  • The Entertainer and the Dybbuk
  • La Linea
  • Finding Buck McHenry
  • The Mailbox
  • The Middle of Somewhere
  • Steal Away
  • All in the Family: A Look-It-Up Guide to the In-Laws, Outlaws, and Offspring of Mythology
  • Jumping the Scratch
  • Sing a Song of Tuna Fish: Hard-To-Swallow Stories from Fifth Grade
  • Storm Warriors
  • Silk Umbrellas
  • What a Beast!: A Look-It-Up Guide to the Monsters and Mutants of Mythology
  • Carlota
  • Kizzy Ann Stamps
Mary Jane Auch also writes as MJ Auch.

The thought of becoming a writer never occurred to MJ Auch as a child. Her only literary efforts in those days were the plays which she and her girlfriend, Noreen, wrote for their marionettes. They produced these extravaganzas in Noreen’s garage and organized the neighborhood boys into a sales force to sell tickets and refreshments.

Summer visits to both of MJ’
More about Mary Jane Auch...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »