Friday, 24 June 2011

Ashes, Ashes

I never win anything.  There was that pumpkin in a grade 3 school raffle, but that was it.  I don't bother buying lottery tickets, and - after loosing way too many quarters - I gave up making bets with my husband.

However, my luck seems to have changed.

For the past number of months, I've been following the blog of author Jo Treggiari.  I enjoy reading her witty and honest thoughts on writing and hearing about the process of getting her Young Adult book ready for publication.

It's out now.  The title is "Ashes, Ashes" taken from the nursery rhyme:

Ring around the roses
A pocketful of posies
Ashes, ashes
We all fall down.

I was lucky enough to win a copy of it through a contest Jo had on her blog.    

Although I have a huge backlog of books to read, this one has jumped the queue.  

Let me quote the dust jacket:

"Smallpox epidemics, floods, droughts -- for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, stealing with it everyone she ever loved.  Even the landscape of her beloved New York City is ever-shifting and full of hidden dangers.  As the weather rages out of control, she survives alone in the wilds of Central Park, hunting and foraging for food and making do with the little she has, while avoiding roving scavengers and thieves.  But when an unrelenting pack of vicious hounds begins to hunt her, Lucy is not sure she can continue on her own.  Then, suddenly, she is swept to safety by a mysterious boy named Aidan, who helps her escape the hounds and urges her to join a band of survivors.  Reluctantly, she finds him after her home is destroyed; however, new dangers await her.

An army of Sweepers terrorizes the camp, carting off innocent people and infecting them with  the plague.  Lucy and Aidan realize that it's up to them to save their friends, but Lucy doesn't know that the Sweepers have laid a trap -- for her.  There is something special about Lucy, and the Sweepers will stop at nothing to have her in their clutches.

Jo Treggiari spins a thrilling tale of adventure, romance, and one girl's unyielding courage through the darkest of nightmares."

I've started reading it, and am completely enthralled.  The protagonist is a very human, very strong and capable young woman.  (Perhaps I should mention that Jo is a trained boxer.  No shrinking violet of a protagonist here.)  I'm also enjoying the annotations that she's added throughout: interesting comments and bits of background information.  

I am looking forward to reading the rest of the book:  a very well imagined and written account of hope and the amazing strength of the human spirit in the face of one of the worst possible scenarios. 

A book I can highly recommend.  

Thanks, Jo!  and wishing you much success with this book and your future writing projects. to buy a lottery ticket.


  1. Oh, hope you win the lottery, too! It is fun to receive a package in the mail from a contest - having just won a blog giveaway, and given a giveaway.

  2. Heya Lynn,
    Congrats on your good fortune!!!

    I've already read this book and found it to be a thoughtful addition to the YA dystopian titles. In fact, I've got it as one of my staff pick's at the bookstore I work at. Look forward to reading what more you might have to write in the form of a review.

    Congrats to Jo Treggiarie for getting this book into print! Quite a feat in itself.


  3. It is fun, Valerianna. I so seldom send and receive things through the mail these days which is a shame, as there's really nothing like hand-written letter. (When I was a child, my best friend moved to Africa, and I used to love getting letters from her with fabulous stamps with exotic animals on them...)

    I'm happy to hear that you've read it, Jan. I must say, it's the first book in this genre that I've read. It is amazing when a book goes from an idea to a real-live, in-print book. Very exciting!

  4. Congratulations! And good luck with the lotto ;)