To the Reader:
In this treatise Joyce Godwin Grubbs has been able to incorporate morale, ethical and other values inherently valuable to teens and, at the same time, mask those traits by way of a strong plot that continually keeps the young reader on his/her toes. It is rare to find a writer with these skills but, in this novel written for young adults, Joyce has achieved that goal. As a former school administrator I would highly recommend this fictional work for placement in school libraries as well as for personal collections.
Krambeck, BS w/dist, MA
Educational Administrator – Retired
THE WARDS OF KILBOURNE HILL: Coming of Age in an Ohio Summer
By Author Joyce Godwin Grubbs: her only young adult book.
The summer before turning 13 has its challenges, wonders, and in the case of a trio of friends, its mysteries. As though on cue, life changes drastically as Jeff Wise is about to turn 13 and it is not all for the better. His father is deployed to Afghanistan, mysterious neighborhood happenings intimidate and threaten his new role as “head of the household” charged with overseeing the welfare of his mother and four year old sister. Just when he thought it couldn’t get worse, his mother signs him up for a summer class.
Bullies, prejudice, girls and un-settling news that his parents don’t own their home and the “high and mighty old woman in the mansion on Kilbourne Hill” does. She wreaks some havoc into their lives when she punishes the entire neighborhood because Jeff, Pudge and Stash trespassed on her property. A mysterious new neighbor the trio dubbed “The Snowman” threatens their dignity as well as their welfare, while Tank and Howie, the bullies and stars of the football team, prepare to make another year at school worse than those that came before.
Life is changed, and for the better, with the appearance of a mysterious witch seen floating in the neighborhood. In solving that mystery, knowing there couldn’t be such a thing, the boys are introduced to a “champion.” But all mysteries aren’t solved that easily when Dooley who chased Jeff with a shotgun, is himself a victim of a life-threatening crime. The quiet, placid, neighborhood of his youth is disappearing just when he needs it most.
Coming of age in Ohio is as “all-American” as it gets. The Midwest is the “melting pot” of the “Melting pot.” Expect the real issues of becoming a young man to be part of the story-line of this heartwarming and fulfilling view of life in Kilbourne Hill, Ohio.