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Publisher's Summary

With the heart, daring, and evocative atmosphere of Winter's Bone and True Grit, and driven by the raw, whip-smart voice of Percy James, a blistering debut about a fearless 16-year old girl whose search for her missing mother leads to an unexpected discovery and a life-or-death struggle in the harsh, frozen landscape of the Upper Midwest.

As a blizzard bears down, Percy James sets off to find her troubled mother, Carletta. For years Percy has had to take care of herself and Mama - a woman who's been unraveling for as long as her daughter can remember. Fearing Carletta is strung out on meth and that she won't survive the storm, Percy heads for Shelton Potter's cabin, deep in the woods of Northern Michigan. A two-bit criminal, as incompetent as he his violent, Shelton has been smoking his own cook and grieving the death of his beloved Labrador, Old Bo.

But when Percy arrives, there is no sign of Carletta. Searching the house, she finds Shelton and his girlfriend drugged into oblivion - and a crying baby girl left alone in a freezing room upstairs. From the moment the baby wraps a tiny hand around her finger, Percy knows she must save her - a split-second decision that is the beginning of a dangerous odyssey in which she must battle the elements and evade Shelton and a small band of desperate criminals hell-bent on getting that baby back.

Knowing she and the child cannot make it alone, Percy seeks help from Carletta's ex, Portis Dale, who is the closest thing she's ever had to a father. As the storm breaks and violence erupts, Percy will be forced to confront the haunting nature of her mother's affliction and finds her own fate tied more and more inextricably to the baby she is determined to save.

Filled with the sweeping sense of cultural and geographic isolation of its setting - the hills of fictional Cutler County in Northern Michigan - and told in Percy's unflinching style, Sweetgirl is an affecting exploration of courage, sacrifice, and the ties that bind - a taut and darkly humorous tour de force that is horrifying, tender, and hopeful.

©2016 Travis Mulhauser (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Cassandra Morris is extraordinary.... A tour de force." (AudioFile)

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It's sadly about real life.

A work of fiction, but real-world themes. Breathtaking and heartbreaking.

It's amazing how accurately the worst of mankind is portrayed in this piece. Right down to the way the characters behave and interact with one another. The themes of drug addiction, irresponsible parenting, and just outright trashiness of the characters in the story reflect individuals and situations which we all hear about in society; and many times from our own family.

For me especially, this book hit home. Travis Mulhauser was my English 111 instructor back in 2009 at a community college in North Carolina. This book is clearly influenced by many of the stories of his own students. He was especially privy to their situations as they would write their experiences into their academic works for him to read and grade. Not long after he moved back to Michigan, I became an instructor at the very same college. And unfortunately, it's in an area where methamphetamine and heroin is the drug of choice for many, children are neglected, and situations like those in the book are nearly a weekly event. I'm now hearing and reading the same stories that influenced his writing so profoundly and for me, this book is probably one of the most real and accurate depictions of what life is like for some of the less fortunate members of society.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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great driveway book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

one of those stories that make you sit in the driveway after you get home so you can find out what happens next. I loved the dialogue, catchy, real, and often funny. even though its a serious story with edge of seat suspense there are moments where the word painted mind picture makes you smile or laugh out loud.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Sheldon Potter. I know he is the villain but the way his mind works, or doesn't work, is priceless.

Have you listened to any of Cassandra Morris and MacLeod Andrews ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

not sure but I liked them both and particularly Andrews.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

don't leave your seat to go to the bathroom.

Any additional comments?

once I get in the grove with an author I want more. I'm in the grove.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Captured our small town!

I couldn't wait to listen to this every day as I drove to and from work! I enjoyed the many different locations and hearing their names! I could visualize them as I listened. I love the references to our area. I will definitely recommend this to everyone!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful