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Monday, March 31, 2014

(MMGM) Tracy Holczer, author of The Secret Hum Of A Daisy {Review, Interview, Giveaway}

I'm so excited to have Tracy Holczer stopping by the March MG Madness today! Check out our Interview, my Review of Tracy's book, and enter the Giveaway below...

The Secret Hum of a Daisy
by Tracy Holczer

Twelve-year-old Grace and her mother have always been their own family, traveling from place to place like gypsies. But Grace wants to finally have a home all their own. Just when she thinks she's found it her mother says it's time to move again. Grace summons the courage to tell her mother how she really feels and will always regret that her last words to her were angry ones.

After her mother's sudden death, Grace is forced to live with a grandmother she's never met. She can't imagine her mother would want her to stay with this stranger. Then Grace finds clues in a mysterious treasure hunt, just like the ones her mother used to send her on. Maybe it is her mother, showing her the way to her true home.

Lyrical, poignant and fresh, The Secret Hum of a Daisy is a beautifully told middle grade tale with a great deal of heart.

Tracy Holczer’s The Secret Hum Of A Daisy is a powerfully poignant middle-grade contemp, full of love, heart, honesty, hope, and beautiful writing.

Twelve year old Grace’s mom has always kept them on the move, never staying in one place too long. Grace believes they’ve found their forever home with Mrs. Greene and Lacey, but her mother says it’s time to go. The two argue and Grace’s last words to her mother are angry, sad ones. After her mother’s death, Grace is sent to live in her mother’s small hometown with a Grandma she’s never met. Full of grief and anger, Grace refuses to get to know her Grandma or new town and hatches a plan to get back to her beloved Mrs. Greene and Lacy. But when Grace discovers a clue, she’s sure her mother is somehow leading her on  a treasure hunt and back to where she belongs.

The Secret Hum Of A Daisy is such a breathtakingly felt book! Palpable and soul-deep, Tracy Holczer’s story of grief, love, and family fully consumed me from page one and well beyond the end. With lyrical storytelling, heart-aching emotion, and very real characters, The Secret Hum Of A Daisy is definitely an important page-turner.

The lovely, lyrical writing simply floats off the page, wrapping itself around readers. There is stunning magic in Holczer’s words and her ability to express and capture so much emotion. Grace’s story is a wonderfully woven and immensely felt one. Holczer deftly and beautifully explores grief, depression, heart-ache, disappointment, and so much more, in a way that feels honest and genuine, but appropriate for a middle-grade audience. I love how Holczer uses the smartly crafted treasure hunt and clues to gently guide Grace on her emotional and coming-of-age journey. This treasure hunt allows both Grace and readers to get to know and appreciate Grace’s new town and the people in.

And the people in this town and book are one of the reasons why I love The Secret Hum Of A Daisy so much! Holczer does a fantastic job of writing complex, well-developed characters who feel very real and very relatable. From feisty Grace, to her surprising Grandma, sweet Jo, endearing Mummy Max, motherly Mrs. Greene, and a town full of quirky, unforgettable people, there are so many characters to fall in love with.

My Final Thoughts: The Secret Hum Of A Daisy made me laugh and cry, moved and inspired me, left me thoughtful and hopeful, but I don’t think it will ever really love me. Author Tracy Holczer has written a truly special story that is bound to leave its magical mark on many readers!


What three words best describe The Secret Hum of a Daisy?
Mysterious. Tender. Honest.

Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers, especially reluctant readers, to give The Secret Hum of a Daisy a try?
The Secret Hum of a Daisy is for anyone who loves a good treasure hunt J

Grab a copy of The Secret Hum of a Daisy and answer the following:
favorite chapter? Chapter 33
favorite page? 306
flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentence teaser?
Mama had told me that daisies spoke in a kind of song, a secret humming that birds could feel in their hollow bones, drawing them close. She said I could feel it, too, if I tried, along the fine hairs of my arms and neck. That we all have a little bird in us somewhere.
What inspired The Secret Hum of a Daisy? How did the story come to be?
When I was eight, I had a porcelain statue that I believed was magic. I’d been through a lot up to that point, more than an eight-year-old should, and this statue was everything to me. She was my guardian angel, my good luck charm. I believed this with all my heart.
I brought it to school one day for show and tell and a girl in my class made fun of me. She didn’t understand it was magic, of course, and I so I decided to prove it to her. By throwing it down on the asphalt playground as hard as it could. When that statue shattered, so did something inside of me.
When I first came to writing, I sat down to try and capture that story, but this one came out instead. I guess I wrote it for the little girl I was, giving that little eight-year-old some closure. I also figured there would be lots of other girls and boys who might have had something shatter in their lives – anything from losing a goldfish to losing a friend - and need assurance that they will find a way to put their pieces back together.

There are some memorable characters in The Secret Hum of a Daisy, do you have a favorite? What do you love about him/her? Did any of your characters end up surprising even you with the way they turned out?
My favorite character is Grace. I just love her. She is brave and honest and fiercely loyal, qualities, I think, we all struggle with when we are twelve. And when we are forty-six.
As for surprises, I have to say that Grandma’s character surprised me by the end of the story. I can’t explain specifically without ruining it for the reader, but I’ll just say, she didn’t turn out the way I thought she would. In a good way.

What do you hope readers walk away with or learn after reading The Secret Hum of a Daisy?
Oh, so many things. How to see beyond the tips of their noses into the hearts of not just their friends, but people in their lives who might be more challenging to love. Or maybe that forgiveness is an option, even in the worst of circumstances. Mostly, I hope readers see that tragedy doesn’t have to define who they are.

As a middle-grade author, why do you think middle-grade is so important? What do you love about writing and reading middle-grade?
We choose how we walk in the world by the stories we tell ourselves about who we are. While I’m writing, I’ve been known to press my palms into my eyeballs and say, vociferously, “I’m never going to figure this out!” So, of course, I don’t. And then I bang around and pout and generally become a nuisance to everyone because I’ve told myself the story that “I can’t do it.”
Generally it doesn’t take me more than a couple of days to remember that instead, I have to shout, “I can write anything!” or “I am the best crazy-dancer ever!” to counteract all the negativity. We are in charge of our destinies, much more than we think, by simply changing perspective. I love writing stories where this happens for the main character and just might give the reader permission to do the same. I think middle graders are so open to this experience that it makes it somewhat irresistible to write for them.
What is your all-time favorite middle-grade book, middle-grade hero, and middle-grade heroine?
My all-time favorite book is The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson with Gilly being my favorite heroine. She is the epitome of toughness and heart. Flawed and so very hurt, her experience is inspirational and makes me cry. Every time I read it, I feel like I’m visiting an old friend.

Fill in the blanks:
I’m really awesome at baking chocolate chip cookies.

I’m really embarrassed to admit that I’m afraid of the dark.

The last great book I read was Pointe by Brandy Colbert.

If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by The Secret Hum of a Daisy, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?
Hmmm, I’d call it Sunshine on a Tuesday. It would be frosted the color of summer sky and taste like melancholy.
Thanks so much for stopping by Tracy!

Win a signed finished copy (+swag) of 
The Secret Hum of a Daisy!
Tracy has generously offered one signed copy +swag.
-US only
-ends 4/6
-must be 13+
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes
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collenga said...

You had me at 'treasure hunt'! really want to read this! thanks for sharing!

Ann Braden said...

I simply CAN NOT WAIT to read this book!! Fabulous review and interview!

Michael G-G said...

I think this is one of the greatest titles I've ever come across. Thanks for the great review and interview--I can't wait to read this.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to get my hands on this. Sounds absolutely scrumptious.

Unknown said...

I think that this book would be a good read to find out how Gracie deals with the death of her mother and her new life with her grandmother - I have added The Secret Hum Of A Daisy to my I want to read list

Annemarie O'Brien said...

Congrats! I can't wait to read the final version. I read an earlier manuscript and just loved it.

Orchid said...

Her writing sounds so good. Your review pretty much has me sold on wanting to read this one.

anne s. said...

sounds like a FANTASTIC READ that i would wna pass on to my children as well :)

Jillyn said...

Aw, this one sounds like a touching read.