Monday, September 10, 2018

She Started it All- A Review and Giveaway

Some of you may remember my review of Sandra Warren's book, We Bought a WWII Bomber: The Untold Story of a Michigan High School, a B-17 Bomber and The Blue Ridge Parkway. After she wrote and published it, I challenged her to use her research to write an historical novel. She knew the story inside and out--so she had half the work done!

She took my challenge seriously and the result is her first foray into middle grade historical fiction, SHE STARTED IT ALL


Told in two points of view, SHE STARTED IT ALL brings the story of the "forgotten" bomber- a plane purchased with money raised by Michigan students during WWII--into Joe Gerrard and Sandi Howard's eighth grade classroom. 

Of course, when the two students receive their history assignments they don't know what lies in wait for them. All they know is that they receive topics they don't like. Sandi wants to cover the music of the time period and instead is asked to report on WWII aircraft; Joe wants to do a project on the bombers he's passionate about, but instead he's required to research United States War Bonds and War Loan Stamps. Their teacher, Mrs. Bradley, says, "As you work through your projects, maybe you'll discover something that will make history itself." A statement that proves to be true in unexpected ways.

If you add to this set-up the fact that Sandi is a shy "Brainiac" with a secret crush on Joe and that he is the popular jock at school--then you have a recipe for conflict. In fact, their constant misperceptions of each other and the cliff-hanger endings to each chapter make the book a page-turner. 

The author does a good job of including historical facts so that the reader learns about WWII without feeling overwhelmed with information. The contemporary setting of a modern middle school and authentic language also makes the book accessible to today's readers. 

I'm a huge fan of using facts in fiction (including real people when possible) as well as inter-generational stories. Both of these are present in this novel. Both Sandi and Joe receive help from elderly primary sources which adds further authenticity to the story.

As for the ending? Well, let's just say it's perfect.


If you'd like to receive a personally autographed copy of SHE STARTED IT ALL, please enter my giveaway! Leave me a comment by September 13 along with your email address if you are new to my blog. Share this on social media (and tell me what you did) and I'll enter your name twice!



Sandra Warren said...

Oh my, Carol! Thank you for the wonderful blog about "She Started It All!" Both books were so much fun to write. I challenge everyone to turn their favorite non-fiction into historical fiction.

The non-fiction resulted in a Wayside Historical Marker being placed on The Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia! The Dedication is scheduled for October 1st at 1:00 pm at Mabry's Mill.

Like the fictional Mrs. Bradley said in the novel, "You never know if something you write about might just make history itself!" The next time folks visit Mabry's Mill on the parkway in Virginia, they can look for the marker and know that it was and is the unexpected result from a story written by an NC author.

Carol Baldwin said...

That is SUPER COOL, Sandra!

Connie Porter Saunders said...

I am looking forward to this book. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.
Carol, I have shared this giveaway on FB & Twitter.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Connie. Your name starts the list!

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

Wow! Sandra, that is so awesome about the historical marker. Congratulations on the book. It sounds terrific! Enter me in the contest, Carol. Please. ;)

Rosi said...

This sounds like a book I would like. Thanks for telling me about it. I will check it out.

Carol Baldwin said...

You're in, Joyce!

Unknown said...

What a wonderful review of Sandra's second book regarding the amazing high school fund raiser and her research. I would love to read "She Started It All". I've known Sandra for more than 40 yrs. and love her and her WWII Bomber book. Thanks for bringing her books to so many people.
Nancy Frederick

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for your comment. I'm happy to enter your name!

Sandra Warren said...

Thank you Carol, Nancy, Joyce and Connie for your kind comments. I just know that one of you will take home the book.

Kathleen said...

I'm so excited for Sandra and can't wait to read it!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Kathleen. You'll enjoy it!

"You're Almost in Labor!" A Celebration of Stages

  If you're reading this and have been pregnant for nine long months, or if you've been close to someone during that-seemingly-endle...