Today I have a special treat. Author Holly Schindler is guest posting for her blog tour on her debut MG book The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky!
I’m not sure that Auggie ever really thinks she’s breaking the rules, in regard to the House Beautification Committee. Technically, she is, once the warning notices start arriving—the committee tells Auggie and Gus that if they don’t adhere to certain standards regarding home improvements, they’ll face significant fines. But instead of shifting gears, Auggie convinces Gus to keep on improving their home in the same vein (turning the items Gus picks up on his hauls into recycled sculptures). Auggie’s convinced the committee will see how beautiful her home improvements are, if only she and Gus can do enough to change the look of their house. (Her theory is that when she and Gus are making their sculptures, they look like a giant pile of metal until they’re completely finished. So her house just must not be finished, either.)
Although Auggie’s plan backfires, she still refuses to go along with what the committee wants. Instead, she begins to brainstorm brand-new ideas for convincing them—and by extension, her hometown—that her house (completely covered by this point in various colors of paint, a stained glass front walk and windows, and metal sculptures she and Gus refer to as their “company”) really is beautiful. Even after suffering a heart-wrenching setback—even after being told that rules are rules, and she and Gus will be punished for not adhering to them—she still doesn’t believe she’s doing anything wrong. At least, not in the same way she would think she was breaking the rules by cheating on a test at school. The House Beautification Committee wants all residents of Serendipity Place to make home improvements that are beyond their economic means. And as Auggie says, if the rules don’t work for everyone, the rules aren’t right.
Moreover, Auggie simply can’t accept that her town will continue to go along with the committee’s unfair rules—especially when they realize that a gem like her house is on the demolition block. But that’s Auggie’s personality—she sees the world as a place that’s beautiful, where literally anything is possible. (Even imperfections can be beautiful things, in Auggie’s mind—for example, her neighbor’s warped porch, she says, looks like it’s smiling.)
In many ways, though, that’s the power of imagination—and Auggie has one whopper of an incredible imagination. For me, imagination is the most important life tool anyone can have—it’s not just something an artist uses. You use your imagination to problem-solve, picturing possible actions and their outcomes. Of course Auggie needs an imagination to become a folk artist…without her imagination, Auggie would never have come up with the idea that helps save her own home and the rest of Serendipity Place, either.
Essentially, then, while Auggie’s actions are technically defiant, I don’t believe she ever sees them as such. That’s part of her world view—Auggie is a positive person, and sees her actions as only illuminating the truth (and believes, wholeheartedly, that her town will come to see things her way). I think that’s Auggie’s most admirable quality. If we could all believe in ourselves to that extent, if we could always maintain her kind of positive energy, even through the hardest times, then maybe we could all meet up at our own version of the intersection of “Sunshine” and “Lucky.”
About the Author:
"I dove headfirst into my writing pursuits after receiving my MA in English from Missouri (that’s pronounced Ma-zur-AH, for those of you not in the know) State University. After wearing out a mere half dozen keyboards (I’m completely serious) drafting enough manuscripts to form a pile that literally stretches from the floor to the ceiling of my office, I was ecstatic to release my debut novel, A Blue So Dark, with Flux. A Blue So Dark earned a starred review in Booklist, was named one of Booklist's Top 10 First Novels for Youth, received a silver medal from the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards, and won a gold medal in the IPPYs. Playing Hurt, my first romance, released in 2011. My first MG, The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky, released in 2014.
…Of course, as a writer, I’m going to be shouting from the rooftops about impending publications…but I’m also a hard-core literature junkie, and look forward to get book recommendations from fellow readers…
Also, as an author, I think it’s my job to dig out the best of each book—I become a better writer by identifying other writers’ strengths! That’s what you can expect to find in my reviews: an honest appreciation for what I perceive to be the most admirable quality in each new author I discover…" -Goodreads
About the Book:
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” meets Because of Winn Dixie in this inspiring story of hope. Auggie Jones lives with her grandpa Gus, a trash hauler, in a poor part of town. So when her wealthy classmate’s father starts the House Beautification Committee, it’s homes like Auggie’s that are deemed “in violation.” But Auggie is determined to prove that there’s more to her—and to her house—than meets the eye.What starts out as a home renovation project quickly becomes much more as Auggie and her grandpa discover a talent they never knew they had—and redefine a whole town’s perception of beauty, one recycled sculpture at a time.Holly Schindler’s feel-good story about the power one voice can have will inspire readers to speak from their hearts.
You can check out the next blog on the tour February 16th at: The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia