Sarah's Books

ASHES TO ASHEVILLE
Hardcover
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Apr 04, 2017 
ISBN 9780399165047

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.

Praise for Ashes to Asheville:

★ “Dooley’s portrait of two sisters still struggling with grief and huge life changes makes for a powerful, absorbing read. . . . A tender, touching, and timely read.”—Booklist, starred review

★  “Dooley (Free Verse) skillfully balances the troubling story of a family torn apart with Fella’s lively, humorous narrative . . . in this moving, entertaining, and thought-provoking tale.”—Publishers Weeklystarred review

★  “Poignantly told with verve and a splash of humor, this novel explores sensitive topics with care and belongs in all middle grade collections.”—School Library Journalstarred review
 
“Dooley packs plenty of emotion into this eventful road trip . . . Breathless and engaging, Fella’s distinctive voice is convincingly childlike.”—Kirkus Reviews 

“A warm tale of family possibilities after bereavement.”—BCCB 

FREE VERSE
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, March 2016
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780399165030

Paperback 
Published by Puffin Books
Mar 07, 2017 
ISBN 9780147509154

A moving, bittersweet tale reminiscent of Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons set in a West Virginia coal-mining town

When her brother dies in a fire, Sasha Harless has no one left, and nowhere to turn. After her father died in the mines and her mother ran off, he was her last caretaker. They’d always dreamed of leaving Caboose, West Virginia together someday, but instead she’s in foster care, feeling more stuck and broken than ever.

But then Sasha discovers family she didn’t know she had, and she finally has something to hold onto, especially sweet little Mikey, who’s just as broken as she is. Sasha even makes her first friend at school, and is slowly learning to cope with her brother’s death through writing poetry, finding a new way to express herself when spoken words just won’t do. But when tragedy strikes the mine her cousin works in, Sasha fears the worst and takes Mikey and runs, with no plans to return. In this sensitive and poignant portrayal, Sarah Dooley shows us that life, like poetry, doesn’t always take the form you intend. 

Praise for Free Verse:

“Dooley subtly exposes readers to poetic forms that invite engagement, understanding, and expression, while Sasha and her extended family are depicted with a sweetness reminiscent of Cynthia Rylant—a southern soulfulness that is warm even as it reveals the downtrodden struggles of a mining community.”—Booklist, starred review
 

“The changes in [Sasha’s] life, the anguish she feels, and her journey forward are expertly portrayed through Dooley’s use of first-person narration, which is sensitive and gentle without being soft or sentimental. The poetry is wonderful and feels authentic to Sasha’s years…”—School Library Journal, starred review
 

“In this gripping story, Dooley balances a clear-eyed depiction of families wrestling with addiction, financial stress, and trauma with the astonishing resilience of children and the human capacity for love.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“The story mounts a quiet defense of the nobility of broken people… who hold on when all seems lost and sacrifice much out of love for their children. Sasha’s quietly moving poems… trace the evolution of her appreciation for what she has and her understanding that one must find one’s own way to wholeness after loss.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Dooley cleverly weaves into her novel different verse forms… giving her protagonist poet… the courage to stay put long enough to let the strength of her emotions settle inside. Dooley winningly combines engaging plot twists and rich character development with the introspective and thematic power of poetry: not to be missed.”—Kirkus Reviews


“Dooley shows readers the richness of small-town life… Tween fans of realistic fiction will find depth in this novel.”—VOYA


“Sasha lives in a tough coal mining world, and the hurts of her losses are deep. But her ability to see the beautiful and the lovely and the goodness of the world around her is equally deep, and her skill in expressing that depth is one of the things that will save her.  This novel is a triumph of art over loss, a story that will make you believe in the capacities of poetry.”—Gary Schmidt, author of Newbery Honor-winning The Wednesday Wars


“Free Verse is exactly the sort of thing that we wish we saw more of in young people’s literature, and Sarah Dooley is exactly the sort of author who needs and deserves this fellowship. It is a startling book, surprising at every turn, and its exploration of poverty, trauma, and loss deserves to be read by as wide an audience as possible.”—Daniel Handler, Lyn Miller-Lachmann, Neal Shusterman, and Susanna Reich, judges for the 2012 PEN/Phyllis Naylor fellowship




Body of Water cover

BODY OF WATER
Feiwel & Friends, 2011
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780312612542
ISBN10: 0312612540
Middle-Grade Fiction

“This book is a must…” --VOYA
 
"...offers messages about tolerance and understanding." --Booklist
 
“An enthralling tale that demystifies Wicca, humanizes homeless families and inspires reflection on friendship, forgiveness and moving forward.” --Kirkus Reviews, Starred review







Livvie Owen Lived Here

LIVVIE OWEN LIVED HERE
Feiwel & Friends, 2010
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780312612535
ISBN10: 0312612532
Middle-Grade Fiction

A Publisher's Weekly Flying Start debut

“Dooley, a special education teacher, offers readers a rare opportunity to experience the day-to-day struggles of a special-needs student. Livvie's internal growth is convincing, and her ultimate triumphs are inspiring.” --Publishers Weekly

Dooley draws on her experience as a special-education teacher and her own string of childhood moves in an accomplished debut novel with memorable secondary characters whose believable emotions highlight the importance of having a place to call home.” --Booklist