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Ashes to Asheville
Cover of Ashes to Asheville
Ashes to Asheville
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Two sisters take off on a wild road trip in this poignant tale for fans of Counting by 7s and Fish in a Tree

After Mama Lacy's death, Fella was forced to move in with her grandmother, Mrs. Madison. The move brought Fella all sorts of comforts she wasn't used to at home, but it also meant saying goodbye to her sister Zoey (a.k.a. Zany) and her other mother, Mama Shannon. Though Mama Shannon fought hard to keep Fella, it was no use. The marriage act is still a few years away and the courts thought Fella would be better off with a blood relation. Already heartbroken, Fella soon finds herself alone in Mrs. Madison's house, grieving both the death of her mother and the loss of her entire family.

Then one night, Zany shows up at Mrs. Madison's house determined to fulfill Mama Lacy's dying wish: to have her ashes spread over the lawn of the last place they were all happy as a family. Of course, this means stealing Mama Lacy's ashes and driving hundreds of miles in the middle of night to Asheville, North Carolina. Their adventure takes one disastrous turn after another, but their impulsive journey helps them rediscover the bonds that truly make them sisters.
A heartrending story of family torn apart and put back together again, Ashes to Asheville is an important, timely tale.
Two sisters take off on a wild road trip in this poignant tale for fans of Counting by 7s and Fish in a Tree

After Mama Lacy's death, Fella was forced to move in with her grandmother, Mrs. Madison. The move brought Fella all sorts of comforts she wasn't used to at home, but it also meant saying goodbye to her sister Zoey (a.k.a. Zany) and her other mother, Mama Shannon. Though Mama Shannon fought hard to keep Fella, it was no use. The marriage act is still a few years away and the courts thought Fella would be better off with a blood relation. Already heartbroken, Fella soon finds herself alone in Mrs. Madison's house, grieving both the death of her mother and the loss of her entire family.

Then one night, Zany shows up at Mrs. Madison's house determined to fulfill Mama Lacy's dying wish: to have her ashes spread over the lawn of the last place they were all happy as a family. Of course, this means stealing Mama Lacy's ashes and driving hundreds of miles in the middle of night to Asheville, North Carolina. Their adventure takes one disastrous turn after another, but their impulsive journey helps them rediscover the bonds that truly make them sisters.
A heartrending story of family torn apart and put back together again, Ashes to Asheville is an important, timely tale.
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  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    800
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    3 - 4

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Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from February 20, 2017
    When 12-year-old Fella’s biological mother, Mama Lacy, becomes sick with cancer, her family moves from Asheville, N.C., to small-town West Virginia to be closer to relatives. After Mama Lacy’s death, Fella’s other mother, Mama Shannon, falls into depression, and Mama Lacy’s mother, Mrs. Madison, wins custody of Fella and her 16-year-old sister, Zany, separating them from Mama Shannon. Zany’s furtive plan to grant Mama Lacy’s final wish by scattering her ashes near their old home drives the novel. Sneaking their mother’s urn from Mrs. Madison’s mantle, the girls embark on a madcap nighttime road trip, which takes one surprising turn after another. Their car overheats, a teenage thief steals the urn, and they end up hitchhiking with him (and later “borrowing” his truck). Dooley (Free Verse) skillfully balances the troubling story of a family torn apart with Fella’s lively, humorous narrative: “We’re either going to go to jail or get in trouble with Mrs. Madison—and I am not sure which is worse.” When Mama Shannon and Mrs. Madison join forces to find the girls, possibilities for a new family configuration offer hope in this moving, entertaining, and thought-provoking tale. Ages 10–up.

  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2017
    Two sisters make an unauthorized expedition to their former hometown and in the process bring together the two parts of their divided family.Dooley packs plenty of emotion into this eventful road trip, which takes place over the course of less than 24 hours. Twelve-year-old Ophelia, nicknamed Fella, and her 16-year-old sister, Zoey Grace, aka Zany, are the daughters of a lesbian couple, Shannon and Lacy, who could not legally marry. The two white girls squabble and share memories as they travel from West Virginia to Asheville, North Carolina, where Zany is determined to scatter Mama Lacy's ashes in accordance with her wishes. The year is 2004, before the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, and the girls have been separated by hostile, antediluvian custodial laws. Fella's present-tense narration paints pictures not just of the difficulties they face on the trip (a snowstorm, car trouble, and an unlikely thief among them), but also of their lives before Mama Lacy's illness and of the ways that things have changed since then. Breathless and engaging, Fella's distinctive voice is convincingly childlike. The conversations she has with her sister, as well as her insights about their relationship, likewise ring true. While the girls face serious issues, amusing details and the caring adults in their lives keep the tone relatively light. Some readers may feel that the resolution comes a mite too easily, but most will enjoy the journey and be pleased when Fella's family figures out how to come together in a new way. (Historical fiction. 10-14)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from February 1, 2017

    Gr 5-8-Following the death of one of her mothers, Mama Lacy, 12-year-old Fella is ripped from the only other parent she has ever known, Mama Shannon, and her 16-year-old sister, Zoey Grace, aka Zany. Fella is forced to move in with her grandmother Mrs. Madison, who has never approved of the relationship between her daughter, the more serious Mama Lacy, and the free-spirited Mama Shannon. When Zany shows up in the middle of the night, whisking away Fella and Mrs. Madison's stowaway poodle, Haberdashery, they set off on a misadventure of epic proportions. Zany is steadfastly determined that she and Fella return to Asheville, NC, to honor Mama Lacy's dying wish that her ashes be scattered there. In the span of a night, what can go wrong does-the girls lose (and find) the ash-filled urn and accept a ride with a would-be thief, and the dog is hit by a car-but nothing will stop them in their pursuit to tie together the last shreds of their torn-apart family. Many poor decisions are made during the journey, such as taking a ride with a stranger. While searching for the girls, Mama Shannon and Mrs. Madison come to realize they have more in common than they think, and they begin to understand the importance of putting aside their own grief when making family decisions. Dooley makes readers stop and think about what really constitutes a family and whether laws should ultimately define those parameters.

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Penguin Young Readers Group
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Ashes to Asheville
Ashes to Asheville
Sarah Dooley
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