Each day leading up to the April 17 announcement of the 22nd Annual Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today, we feature
Young People’s Literature Finalist,
The Sky Always Hears Me and the Hills Don’t Mind
Excerpt from The Sky Always Hears Me and the Hills Don’t Mind:
If tangible people hurt you, there’s more chance to make up because they’re right in front of you. You can hit them, or hold them and apologize if you’re stupid. Those are the kind of people for me: ones I can cry on and go sledding with, not imaginary people who I can’t feel, and who can’t love me back. Intangible people like my mother aren’t even worth a thought. She’s tangible in her picture, but the pictures are a lie since she doesn’t exist anymore. It was a long time ago, and I should get over it.
Morgan is a witty, sarcastic sixteen-year-old who lives in a small town in Nebraska and struggles with an alcoholic dad, a crush on a boy at work, and rumors at school that she is a lesbian. Even worse, she discovers that her Grandma – the person she trusts most – has kept a shocking secret from her. Now she is forced to change her whole life around.
Debut author Kirstin Cronn-Mills received her Ph.D. in rhetoric and professional communication from Iowa State University, and was a poet before becoming a fiction writer. She teaches English at a two-year community and technical college in Mankato, Minnesota.
“The characters in this book are believable and Morgan is a girl that teens can relate to and like… Her encounters in the high school are authentic…This book has stuck with me because the characters are well developed and the plot is believable… This is definitely a high school read.” – Minnesota Book Awards Judge
“This is what a young adult novel should be. It’s timely, although a book that will not easily be dated. This novel really hits on the topics of teen life – sexuality, family problems – in a manner that is direct and extremely candid. This book has a long future and was really a terrific read.” – Minnesota Book Awards Judge
“Good young adult fiction allows the reader to discover new methods of dealing with problems. Cronn-Mills delivers this and much more. She has produced a fully-realized world where Morgan must redefine herself and her world as she deals with a caring grandmother who is trying to make up for the secret guilt she has for Morgan’s past, a boyfriend who is good to her but is not right for her, a friend who she needs to stand up for, a friend who wants a romance with her, a possible love who doesn’t act exactly how she wants him to act, a father who doesn’t try to love her, and much more. Yet the novel never feels weighed down, but remains funny, provocative, and fresh. Most of all, this novel rings true.” – Minnesota Book Awards Judge
“Written with candor and splashes of humor, this provocative story captures the essence of adolescent ennui and uncertainty through an uncensored, first-person narrative. Stubborn, quick-witted and determined to make her dreams come true, Morgan will draw sympathy from readers.” – Publishers Weekly
“Morgan is a well-drawn character and her funny, frank, profane-but-literate first-person voice rings true and strong-teens might find it liberating to meet a character who can take on life’s messiness and forgive it.” – Kirkus Reviews
Award winners will be announced at the 22nd Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 17, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in downtown Saint Paul. The opening reception begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40 and are available by clicking here or calling 651-222-3242.
Have you read The Sky Always Hears Me and the Hills Don’t Mind? What are your thoughts? Did you vote for the Readers’ Choice Award? We welcome your comments!