Title: Boxcar Baby
(Steel Roots #1)
Author: J.L. Mulvihill
Length: 274 pages
Publisher: Seventh Star Press
Rating: 4 Stars
Born in a boxcar on a train bound for Georgia. At least that is what Papa Steel always told AB'Gale. But now, fifteen years later, the man who adopted and raised her as his own is missing and it's up to AB'Gale to find him. Aided only by a motley gang of friends, AB'Gale train hops her way across the United States in a desperate attempt to find her papa and put her life and family back the way it was. Her only guide is a map given to her by a mysterious hobo, with hand written clues she found hidden in her papa's spyglass. Here is the Great American Adventure in an alternate steampunk dystopian world, where fifteen-year-old AB'Gale Steel learns that nothing is as it seems, but instead is shrouded in secrets and mysteries ... and that monsters come in all shapes and forms.The Boxcar Baby is the first book of the Steel Roots series.
My ThoughtsBoxcar Baby is one of those rare finds of a book that manages to evoke images of a by-gone era in a way that is accessible not only to the YA audience, but to a wide range of readers across the literary spectrum.
In AB'Gale, readers find a protagonist who is no stranger to the hard knocks of life, though her adoptive father and grandmother have done all they can to shield her and provide her with a loving and stable home.
With her father missing and her grandmother attempting to stall efforts by the land owner to take the family farm; AB'Gale embarks on a quest to find her missing father.
The tone of this book is very Dickensian, what with AB'Gale's hard scrabble beginnings, gaining home and stability, the threat of it's loss, and her having to venture out into the unknown to test her metal in order to find what she seeks.
The thing that makes this story so readable is the fact that readers become so invested in the spunky, resilient, and determined young heroine that they are driven to know how her story ends.
When you add elements of steampunk, colorful characters, and a thread of mystery; you have a truly engrossing read.
No monetary compensation was received in return for this review. Though I was provided with a review copy of the literary work in question: all opinions expressed herein are my own.
Mulvihill: Born in Hollywood and
raised in San Diego, CA, J.L. Mulvihill has made Mississippi her home for the
past fifteen years. Her debut novel was the young adult title The Lost Daughter
of Easa, an engaing fantasy novel bordering on science-fiction with a dash of
steampunk, published through Kerlak Publishing.
The Boxcar Baby, the first novel of her Steel Roots Series, was released
by Seventh Star Press in the summer of 2013.
J.L. also has several short fiction pieces in publication,
among them "Chilled Meat", a steampunk thriller found in the Dreams
of Steam II-Of Bolts and Brass, anthology (Kerlak Publishing) and "The
Leprechaun’s Story", a steampunk urban Fantasy found in the anthology,
Clockwork, Spells, & Magical Bells (Kerlak Publishing)
J.L. is very active with the writing community, and is the
events coordinator for the Mississippi Chapter of Imagicopter known as the
Magnolia-Tower. She is also a member of
the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Gulf Coast
Writers Association (GCWA), The Mississippi Writers Guild (MWG), as well as the
Arts Council of Clinton, and the Clinton Ink-Slingers Writing Group.
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