Monday, November 12, 2018

Review: Sweep by Jonathan Auxier

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her MonsterSweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"We are saved by saving others."

Eleven-year-old Nan Sparrow is the best climber in London. She learned everything she knows from her Sweep who disappeared a few years ago. He left Nan only his hat and a strange lump of charcoal. When Nan becomes trapped in a deadly chimney fire, she finds herself unharmed in the attic, and her small, odd char has come to life. Over the next few days, her new friend grows and transforms into a golem of ash.

Auxier's Sweep: The Story of a Girl and her Monster is a wonderfully complex story that feels as if Charles Dickens wrote a fairy tale. As a bit of historical fiction, it builds an eye-opening world in Victorian London where children experience grinding poverty and abuse. But the story balances these dark elements with the warmth of friendship, the love of found family, and the freedom education brings.

Supported by a cast of wonderful characters, Nan's fight for her own life becomes a fight for social justice. This warm-hearted novel shows us what it takes to save ourselves by saving others.

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