The Wayward Gifted - Broken Point

Young Adult

By Donna Childree

Publisher : Milo Nerak Press

ABOUT Donna Childree

Donna Childree
Originally from the Deep South, along the Alabama Gulf Coast, Donna Childree lives happily in Ann Arbor, Michigan writing, making art, and enjoying family. The Wayward Gifted - Broken Point is Donna's first novel, a project she co-authored with her adult son, Mike Hopper.



Samantha Leigh and Steuart James DuBoise reside in a complex world of southern love and crazy dysfunction. They snack on cold buttered biscuits, drink sweet iced-tea, and create stories on the sleeping porch of their grandmother’s bay-front home.

Life changes abruptly when the family moves more than a thousand miles from the only home they have ever known. Encouraged by their grandmother, and armed with unique talents, Samantha and Steuart begin their adventure in this coming of age, young adult novel.

Who are The Wayward Gifted?

Elegant and Compelling, March 8, 2013
Pop Bop (Denver, Colorado United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wayward Gifted - Broken Point (Kindle Edition)
This book defies attempts at categorization - by genre, by target audience, or by pretty much any other measure. The best short description I can come up with is this - if Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote and William Faulkner had collaborated on the most literate Twilight Zone episode ever conceived, the result might have been something like this. It's very hard to write anything else without touching on possible SPOILERS, but I'll try. (And know this at the outset: this is not anywhere nearing being a standard issue middle grade magical adventure romp, despite the impression that you might get from the brief Amazon description.)

We start with Steuart and Samantha, ten and twelve year old siblings, late at night on the crumbling sleeping porch of the southern mansion they share with their mentally unstable adoptive mother. They have a long, languid, awkward and rambling conversation that establishes their own idiosyncrasies, and firmly places them in an elegant YA southern gothic world. They are innocent lost souls surrounded by confusing adult disharmony. It feels like the first act of a Williams memory play, (and I'm not sure that their surname being "DuBoise" is a coincidence.)

Now, I say "YA", (and Amazon lists this as a "children's" and "coming of age" book), but I don't know if you could call this YA or middle grade just because the protagonists are children. (Is "The Turn of the Screw" a children's book just because children feature so prominently?) It sort of seems young adult or even middle grade because there are no "adult" themes - no sex, no violence, no focus on adult preoccupations. And the point of view is always drawn to and from Steuart and Samantha, with virtually all of the dialogue involving one or the other or both of the children, and everything that happens being filtered through their perceptions.

But that said, the quality of the writing is in a whole different world from anything else I've read recently in the YA/middle grade category. There is elegant word play; there is dialogue as sharp as broken crystal; there is atmosphere, mood, and sly humor. This is demanding and rewarding material. I could see this book captivating a confident and patient young reader. This is a book that could make a lasting impression.

You'll note that I haven't mentioned the plot. Out of deference to its Twilight Zoneness, I would just say that it incorporates, subtly and over the course of the book, the best aspects of the Zone's uncanny, unnerving and vaguely threatening aesthetic in a very satisfying way.

So, it seems to me that a book like this illustrates exactly why one browses through Amazon Kindle freebies and independently published books. This is a book that deserves attention. In that regard, the sample that is available for this book is very generous and will give you a very good idea of what will be in store for you.

Please note that I found this book while browsing Amazon Kindle freebies. I have no connection at all to the author or the publisher of this book.