After mentioning my sister-in-law's first novel a few times in the past, I am here to say that the book is officially here. Although I have had the Kindle version for some time, my paperback copy was mailed from Amazon yesterday.
It was a pleasure to reread the book that I first read in draft form some time ago.
This is the review or close to it that I just posted on Amazon.
Tucker’s first novel is a masterpiece of character. Ari, who is the Clay Girl, is a marvellous literary figure who grows from a confused little eight-year-old into a caring and determined teenager.
Indeed, she grows into the name, Ari, given to her by her aunts as she soars like an eagle while possessing the strength of a lion.
Her birth family, or at least her parents, were close to being the worst characters possible, but she meets so many other wonderful people who help to shape her into a strong young lady: her aunts, teachers, step father, and even a railroad conductor, among others.
There is remarkable and inspiring insight in this novel as in this advice early on from her aunt when Ari needed cheering: “You’re not dirt, you’re clay. Clay soaks up water and when fired becomes stronger.”
When a disheartened Ari had to face returning to her mother: “Remember, Ari, there’s treasure up ahead. For now, go get your ashes.”
There’s this gem of insight from a train conductor, William Walrus: “Every shining jewel comes from a crushing it never knew it could survive.”
Ari does endure some crushing experiences, and in the process, becomes a shining jewel.
I could go on, but you should go ahead and just read the book for yourself.
One thing that I will mention is that although Ari faces much trouble she does not do so in a dispiriting way. She's an upbeat person who enjoys and feeds off the goodness of people that she meets. This is not a gloomy book.
If you do read it, and of course you should, it might confuse you in the first few pages that are told from the point of view of a scared and confused eight-year-old girl with an imaginary friend. Once you understand this, all falls into place quickly.