I never really thought much about books labeled “powerful” until the first time someone described my book, MIDNIGHT WITHOUT A MOON, as such. Even then, I basically googled “What is a powerful book?” in order to try to figure out exactly what that meant. It should be common sense, right? One dictionary definition of the word “power” is: The capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others….
Still, how does that apply to a book? Well, you can’t really define it. You have to feel it. And that’s exactly what happened to me as I read TRAIN I RIDE by Paul Mosier. A powerful novel has the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others…particularly while reading and even for days after. (This is called a Book Hangover.) While reading TRAIN I RIDE, I paused; I shuddered; I laughed (a lot); I cried; I sighed; I gasped; and, many times, I held my breath. Friends, that’s powerful.
Even though I loved EVERY character, TRAIN I RIDE is about a girl named Rydr who is traveling via Amtrak from California to Chicago to live with a great uncle whom she has never met. The uncle is the only family member left who can care for her, hopefully, until she turns eighteen. So right from the beginning this story starts to tug at the heart strings. It’s hard to describe the book without giving away parts that are meant to surprise the reader, but everything about it is utterly profound (in my opinion). It is WALK TWO MOONS, DICEY’S SONG, PICTURES OF HOLLIS WOODS, and THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY all rolled into one. With that being said, and with today being the big Mid-Winter ALA children’s book awards announcements, I would not be surprised to see TRAIN I RIDE earn some kind of sticker. I will be disappointed if it doesn’t.
Award-winner or not, if you want to read a powerful, poignant, and very beautiful story, read TRAIN I RIDE by Paul Mosier. Have a Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, everyone!