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Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  7,500 ratings  ·  1,614 reviews
For nearly a century, Victorian London relied on "climbing boys"--orphans owned by chimney sweeps--to clean flues and protect homes from fire. The work was hard, thankless and brutally dangerous. Eleven-year-old Nan Sparrow is quite possibly the best climber who ever lived--and a girl. With her wits and will, she's managed to beat the deadly odds time and time again.
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by Puffin Books
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Angela Yes and yes! Nan seeks to discover how her creature was made and what exactly he is. When she finds insufficient information in books, she asks the fe…moreYes and yes! Nan seeks to discover how her creature was made and what exactly he is. When she finds insufficient information in books, she asks the few Jewish people she knows. (less)
JCL Never answered in the book.

Also I ship Nan and Toby. So...…more
Never answered in the book.

Also I ship Nan and Toby. So...(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,500 ratings  ·  1,614 reviews

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May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ack. I hate having the responsibility of being the first. I want to just walk away and come back later when other people have had a chance to review so that my thoughts can get lost in the crowd.

Sweep is wonderful. It reads as if Charles Dickens tried his hand at telling a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. It has a bit of a feel of Frances Hodgson Burnett and a bit of Oscar Wilde's The Happy Prince. It is, in short, much like the classic children's literature I read when young—at once both mag
"We are saved by saving others.”

A stunning story of sacrifice and courage, and a marvelous act of civil disobedience.

On the second reading: Even better, blew my heart to pieces.
Sara Grochowski
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve been a fan of Jonathan Auxier’s writing for years now, so I started this one with very high expectations, which were met and exceeded! And I’m now a person that has cried on an airplane.
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As this song and scene from Mary Poppins
description ranks as one of my favorite cinematic moments, I had a hard time easing into the dark and depressing world of child chimney sweeps of Victorian era London.

Charlie the golem, and his childlike wonder at the world around him, managed to win me over, however, and I ended up loving the book.

The ending? I'll say no more, though it's practically perfect in every way.
Allison Tebo
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sweep by Jonathan Auxier is a book that reached out and seized my heart from page one and hasn’t let go. It is one of the most intimate reads I’ve discovered in a long time as the author zooms in on the very essence of the hope, love, and courage that is embodied in sacrifice.

It’s about grief and joy. It’s about losing something and gaining something. It’s about surrendering and about fighting on. It’s about change and sameness. It’s about innocence and also about growing up. It’s beautiful, pa
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Jennifer, Carolyn
We are saved by saving others.

A wonderful blend of history, heartbreak, magic and mysticism in Victorian England. It's about a young girl, Nan Sparrow, who is a chimney sweep, indentured to a cruel master, and barely surviving. When she is almost killed while cleaning chimneys in a prestigious girls school, she is saved by a piece of char from her old master. From this warm char, Nan grows a golem, named Charlie. They are hiding from the cruel master, but eventually take a stand for all the swee
Katie Ziegler (Life Between Words)
5 brilliant stars. Storytelling perfection with beautiful characters that leap of the page and live in the real world, at least in the hearts of the reader. The writing is at times lilting and lush and at others straightforward and simple. And one of those historical fiction novels that makes you want to learn everything you can about the time you’re reading about.

It’s about friendship, and saving yourself by saving others, it’s about folktales coming to life, it’s about living with purpose, it
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Update: I just finished my reread and I think I loved this story even more this time. Such a great story. This should be considered a children's classic.

I read this aloud with my 10 year old...and oh my goodness. What a beautiful book. It definitely lived up to the hype. The storytelling was done so well...these felt like real people, walking off the page to tell us their story. It had so many things that I love in books - Victorian London setting, children finding a magical protector, Judaism
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In which I find myself crying for all the right reasons.
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
The subtitle of this book is “The story of a girl and her monster,” but it could also be “The story of a girl that makes Chelsey cry and also very suspicious of the chimney sweeps in Mary Poppins.”
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I haven't read much middle grade, so when Katie and Krista picked it as the #middlegrademarch group read on bookstagram, I figured I'd give it a try. (To be perfectly honest, the cover sold me... I didn't even read the synopsis before purchasing.)

The story is quick but emotional, with wonderful themes about friendship and caring for others. With a plucky, strong, smart female protagonist, it's a great story for all ages. Plus, who doesn't love a lovable monster? I'd recommend this whether you're
Montzalee Wittmann
Jun 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The Story of a Girl and Her Monster
By: Jonathan Auxier

This is a story about a little girl as a chimney sweep. She was with a man who raised her and loved her all her life. Then when she was 6 years old, he just left. She has friends, and enemies. She ended up being a indentured slave practically to a cruel man, along with many others about her age.

The story picks up at age 11 when something happens to cause the special stone the sweep man left for her, along with his hat, that changes her
J. Lieutenant of Barad Dur
May 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I think I'll never fully recover from this story 💔💔💔

It's full of sorrow and dreams. Of darkness and death. Of hopes and broken hearts.
It surely broke mine 😭😭😭
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was so much more than I expected. The writing is lovely and the themes (for example, friendship, sacrifice, and standing up against what is wrong) are complex. Some middle-grades books talk down to children; this one didn’t do that at all. I always appreciate books that show an appreciation for classic literature, and this one does that, too. I found myself completely “swept” up in the story and am excited to share it with my children.
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-novel
One of the best books of the year. Did I cry? Yes. Did I laugh out loud? Yes. Did I cheer? Yes. When I was book talking it the other day, one of my book club members said she's reading it too. This is a book that you just have to look at another reader and say- it's that good, isn't it? Yes it is. ...more
Mary Lee
Theme that spoke straight to my heart on 8/18/18: "We are saved by saving others."

And this quote: "Keeping alive isn't enough...You have to live FOR something."

Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
<3 “We save ourselves by saving others” <3
Christina DeVane
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a truly beautiful story! I’m not a huge fantasy fan, but the combination with historical fiction was delightful and fascinating!
I didn’t know much about chimney sweeps and child labor in Victorian England, but I felt educated and entertained by the heartwarming sometimes heart wrenching story.
Brilliant writing that keeps you engaged at the perfect pace. Nan and her golem, Charlie, are such likable characters with all their quirks and you find yourself cheering them on until the bitter e
Destinee Sutton
I almost had to stop reading this because it was making me so uncomfortable. To think of a small child climbing inside a narrow chimney, a bag over their head to keep dust out of their eyes, squeezing up through layers of coal soot. I'm shuddering even now.

Good thing I powered through some awfully tough scenes because in the end this is a beautiful book. I'm partial to British historical fiction already, but it wasn't just that. It's a magical story with very real historical detail. And, as the
As far as I know, there wasn't a Golem in Victorian London, but the truth of this historical fantasy is that there had been chimney sweeps since the great fire of London in 1666, and it was't until 1875 that a law was passed that was strong enough to protect the children that were as young as four, that were used to climb up and clean the chimneys.

This story takes place just in 1874, and is about one such Sweep, a girl named Nan, abused, indentured to a cruel master, whose original master died,
Elizabeth Kennedy
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book has it all. I hope it wins the Newbery.
H.S.J. Williams
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well. -wipes tears from face- This is a book to make you cry, sure enough. I’m not sure I would have read it if I had known how sad it was, but I can’t rate it less than 5 stars because it’s message is IMPORTANT. If I did not know better, I would have assumed this book to be an old children’s classic. It has that same intelligent, well-crafted charm. And it is one of those immensely serious children’s books that is almost harder to read as an adult. Life matters, death is never the better option ...more
An absolutely wonderful mix of historical detail, fantasy and horror. And the horror is for the working conditions of climbers like main character Nan Sparrow, rather than the golem, Charlie, who is utterly delightful, sweet and kind. I loved the friendship between Nan and Charlie, and the gradual inclusion of other characters into this friendship. Author Jonathan Auxier doesn't hide the poverty and desperation of his climbers and sweeps from his readers, despite this being aimed at a younger au ...more
Melanie Mead
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
What a wonderful book! An intriguing mix of history and fantasy . . . hard to describe but well worth a read (or listen)! It's a middle grade novel but as an adult, I thoroughly enjoyed it myself. I listened to the audiobook which was superbly read by Sarah Coombes. Listen to appreciate - you won't be disappointed! ...more
☼Book her,   Danno☼
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
Hit the 50% mark and decided to abandon.

I wanted to like this book and thought I would given all the favorable reviews but blah. Slow and somehow uninspired. I was interested to see what the outcome, but not enough to slog though 'the message'.

Jason Furman
What a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful book. I mostly listened to this with my children (but read them parts), I was torn but pressed four stars. They caught me, got upset, and so I have put it down as five.

A story of climbing boys and girls who clean chimneys in Victorian London. The first half is called "Innocence" and the second half "Experience," mirroring the William Blake poems that play such an important role in the book. The story itself is not exactly innocent in the first half, but it
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monsterhad a lot of heart to it, especially in the descriptions of the friendships and makeshift families in the book.

I wasn't halfway through the book before I was crying and I knew that I'd be crying again by the end. Auxier did an amazing job with scene setting, character building, and making readers want to invest in his characters.
Kaytee Cobb
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was an unputdownable, devour in a day, kind of book. Nan is a chimney sweep in Victorian England. She used to be under the care of "the Sweep", but her left one night leaving behind only his hat and a butt of char. This char is magic as it always holds a bit of warmth to keep Nan from freezing on cold nights. But at some point (early in the story) it gets much more magic than that and we get to meet Charlie.
This book is middle grade perfection. Absolutely shows you the world through anothe
Scott Fillner
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Borrowing from Jonathan’s words...Sweep is a “tangled knot of fantasy and fiction.” From the beautifully, unputdownable, engaging the amazingly, jaw-dropping back matter, Sweep is a story that will climb into your heart and resonate for ages to come.

It is filled with heart and horror, beauty and ugliness, all woven together to tell the story of a young Sweep, Ann’s life, set in the late 1800’s of Victorian England.

I cannot more highly recommend this story when it comes out in Septemb
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
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Great Middle Grad...: BOTM for September is Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster 14 34 Oct 11, 2020 09:30PM  
Books and Jams Re...: 2nd Half 10 45 Apr 25, 2019 01:12AM  
Books and Jams Re...: 1st Half 7 37 Apr 06, 2019 04:06PM  

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