Welcome to our stop on Journey's End tour for Rachel Hawkins. This tour is hosted by PenguinTeen.
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Reading Level: Middle Grade
Released: October 25th 2016
Review Source: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
The town of Journey's End may not literally be at the end of the world, but it sure feels like it to Nolie Stanhope. Spending the summer with her scientist father in the tiny Scottish village isn't exactly Nolie's idea of a good time, but she soon finds a friend: native Journey's Ender Bel McKissick.
While Nolie's father came to Journey's End to study the Boundary--a mysterious fog bank offshore--Bel's family can’t afford to consider it a threat. The McKissick’s livelihood depends on the tourists drawn by legends of a curse. Still, whether you believe in magic or science, going into the Boundary means you'll never come back.
…Unless you do. Albert Etheridge, a boy who disappeared into the Boundary in 1914, suddenly returns--without having aged a day and with no memory of the past hundred years. Then the Boundary starts creeping closer to the town, threatening to consume everyone within.
While Nolie's father wants to have the village evacuated, Bel's parents lead the charge to stay in Journey's End. Meanwhile, Albert and the girls look for ways to stop the encroaching boundary, coming across an ancient Scottish spell that requires magic, a quest, and a sacrifice.
On Writing MG vs. YA: Why MG? And how is it different than writing YA?
It’s like writing with oven mitts on.
That was what I kept telling anyone who asked me about writing my first MG book, Journey’s End. My agent, my editor, my friends- it was my go-to response. By the time I wrote Journey’s End, I had written 7 YA novels, and while none of those had been what I’d call easy, I was always pretty sure of what I was doing. Kissing, snark, explosions, maybe swords...that was my wheelhouse. So writing this book about kids in Scotland- kids who could not make out with or stab anybody- was almost like starting over in a way.
It was the weirdest feeling. I was used to feeling a little insecure writing a book, even a little lost. Part of writing is, after all, hacking your way through the weeds to the heart of a story, and there’s not always a spotlight on the path. But this was something different, not just, “Where is this going?” but, “Am I even doing this right?”
But then a weird thing happened. Because I felt like I had no idea what I was doing, I also felt… free. Scared, but also willing to take bigger risks, to dive deeper. So no one could make out or commit crimes. What could I do? Talk about those friendships we make when we’re young, the ones that feel like a different kind of falling in love? Dig into all those family relationship that my YA characters were usually trying to dodge (parents are a real buzzkill when you’re trying to save the world via dark magic.) Heck, I could write the whole thing in third person POV, and no one could stop me!
It was scary, trying something new, but in the end, it made me a better author in every way. I feel like changing genres made me rethink some thing, made me work a little harder, and in the end, made a book that I’m really, really proud of. Bring on the oven mitts!