• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of The Impossible Destiny of Cutie Grackle by Shawn K. Stout

Stout's recently published middle-grade story is irresistibly strange, full of difficulties and a tough young heroine's gritty problem-solving, and largely about believing in the impossible and never losing heart.

She read the words on the paper out loud: “History is not your destiny. Uncover your destiny, and you will remake history.”

Cutie Grackle lives in a cabin in the Appalachian Mountains with her dim-witted, muttering Uncle Horace. She's used to being hungry, to sucking on pebbles to trick her stomach into thinking it's getting food, and to relying on a couple of trusted outsiders for help when necessary.

After an encounter with a fortune-cookie message and a flock of ravens who seem to be following her, Cutie begins to believe that the curse Uncle Horace keeps mumbling about might be real--and that it might have been connected to the deaths of her parents.

As the ravens begin to bring Cutie objects that seem to be linked to a bigger message and mission, she wonders: could identifying and lifting the curse offer answers--and could it even change the trajectory of her tough young life?

The Impossible Destiny of Cutie Grackle is a mountain adventure story that offers magical realism with an edge. Shawn K. Stout's novel is full of heartbreak and hope and is irresistibly unexpected.

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The Impossible Destiny of Cutie Grackle is another book from the wonderful Peachtree Publishing Company.

Stout is also the author of the Penelope Crumb series, the Not-So-Ordinary Girl books, and the historical novel A Tiny Piece of Sky.