By: Sydney Spangler
Don't lose heart. That's the motto that keeps Cutie Grackle going as she faces the impossible.
Cutie is a 10-year-old girl who lives with her absentminded uncle in a rundown shed on the edge of a mountain in nowhere West Virginia. Her only friends are Toot, a lunch lady who helps Cutie visit the area food pantry, and Mr. Pitts, an old beat-up garden gnome who's obsessed with Claude Monet.
At the start of summer, Cutie's life takes a turn when a flock of ravens begin to follow her and she's pulled into a vision from her family's past. As the raven's continue to bring her clues about a curse, Cutie embarks on a journey to find her destiny and maybe bring her family back from the dead.
Part outdoor survival adventure, part fantastical quest, Shawn K. Stout's "The Impossible Destiny of Cutie Grackle" is a book that's hard to put down. I loved so many things about this story. Stout's writing is vivid, suspenseful, and heart-wrenching. Each character is unique with a distinct voice. The weaving between past and present never feels out of place or forced. But, what I loved most is Cutie's tenacity to move forward despite the many obstacles in her path.
I'm going to be real, there were some parts in this book that were tear-jerking. Cutie's life is difficult. Her constant battle with hunger is heart-breaking. But what's great about Cutie is that she doesn't lose heart--she's a survivor. Cutie teaches us that no matter what we face, there is light in the darkness.
"The Impossible Destiny of Cutie Grackle" is for middle grade readers. It's fun, suspenseful, and will make your heart soar. The book is expected to release on May 10, 2022.