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message 1: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1739 comments Sweetgirl by Travis Mulhauser

About the Book: (source:
With the heart, daring, and evocative atmosphere of Winter’s Bone and True Grit, and driven by the raw, whip-smart voice of Percy James, a blistering debut about a fearless sixteen-year old girl whose search for her missing mother leads to an unexpected discovery, and a life or death struggle in the harsh frozen landscape of the Upper Midwest.

As a blizzard bears down, Percy James sets off to find her troubled mother, Carletta. For years, Percy has had to take care of herself and Mama—a woman who’s been unraveling for as long as her daughter can remember. Fearing Carletta is strung out on meth and that she won’t survive the storm, Percy heads for Shelton Potter’s cabin, deep in the woods of Northern Michigan. A two-bit criminal, as incompetent as he his violent, Shelton has been smoking his own cook and grieving the death of his beloved Labrador, Old Bo.

But when Percy arrives, there is no sign of Carletta. Searching the house, she finds Shelton and his girlfriend drugged into oblivion—and a crying baby girl left alone in a freezing room upstairs. From the moment the baby wraps a tiny hand around her finger, Percy knows she must save her—a split-second decision that is the beginning of a dangerous odyssey in which she must battle the elements and evade Shelton and a small band of desperate criminals, hell-bent on getting that baby back.

Knowing she and the child cannot make it alone, Percy seeks help from Carletta’s ex, Portis Dale, who is the closest thing she’s ever had to a father. As the storm breaks and violence erupts, Percy will be forced to confront the haunting nature of her mother’s affliction and finds her own fate tied more and more inextricably to the baby she is determined to save.

Filled with the sweeping sense of cultural and geographic isolation of its setting—the hills of fictional Cutler County in northern Michigan—and told in Percy’s unflinching style, Sweetgirl is an affecting exploration of courage, sacrifice, and the ties that bind—a taut and darkly humorous tour-de-force that is horrifying, tender, and hopeful.

About the Author: (source:
Travis Mulhauser is from Petoskey, Michigan. He lives in Durham, North Carolina, with his wife and two children.

Author’s webpage:

Twitter handle: @slangjive

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Happy reading!!

message 2: by Matthew (last edited Jul 24, 2016 10:37AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew | 84 comments Wow, I love how the alt-TOB shortlist has highlighted books that weren't on my radar (but should have been). Sweetgirl is an amazing book. Vividly drawn characters and clean yet lyrical prose. Dark subject matter but laugh out loud funny at times. Really enjoyed this novel.

Drew (drewlynn) | 425 comments Matthew, you have convinced me to pick up this one next!

Drew (drewlynn) | 425 comments Matthew wrote: "Wow, I love how the alt-TOB shortlist has highlighted books that weren't on my radar (but should have been). Sweetgirl is an amazing book. Vividly drawn characters and clean yet lyrical prose. Dark..."

I read this in one sitting yesterday! Just could not put it down.

message 5: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1739 comments Wow Drew! That's speedy! I think I read this pretty fast as well but you definitely have me beat! I loved the dialogue (mainly w/Portis) and the use of the storm as balance to the human dangers. Every time there is a break in the storm (or shelter found), something profound occurs.

Heather (hlynhart) | 324 comments I just finished this and liked it too; it was simple yet meaningful.

Dianne | 13 comments meh, I didn't love this book. I can say that I read it faster than I have read any book in quite some time. It unfolds kind of like a movie, and you are wondering, what???? is going to happen next?????? oh my gosh!!!! did that just happen??? but that suspense was really the main merit of the book in my view. It touched on some poignant themes of family dysfunction, addiction, loneliness, loyalty, but didn't delve deeply enough into any of these to leave a lasting impression. This was definitely an 'easy' read also, which I will snobbishly admit that I hold against it.

Drew (drewlynn) | 425 comments I am less enamored with this book as time passes. I really enjoyed reading it and I couldn't put it down but is that necessarily the mark of a good book? I read The DaVinci Code for my book group and finished it in three days. Enjoyed it while I was reading it but it certainly isn't something I'd call a "good book." Okay, Sweetgirl was way better than that but still ...

Melanie Greene (dakimel) | 241 comments I listened to this in my car, and found myself wo a lot of Driveway Moments - just got somewhere, turned off the car, and wen on with my day. But I liked it - liked the structure a good deal, and the relationship dynamics.

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