NOMINATED FOR FOUR NATIONAL AWARDS including the prestigious TD Children's Literature Award
The follow-up to <a href="page:// 1:index">Alan Cumyn's</a> award-winning first book for children,
The Secret Life of Owen Skye, After Sylvia follows the life of young Owen after his true love Sylvia Tull (the girl whose very glance turns Owen's face into a burning tomato) moves away to the town of Elgin. How can one endure such a loss? By adopting a slobbering, bouncy, rock-obsessed hound named Sylvester? By running for class president? By joining his brothers in taking revenge against bossy cousin Eleanor? Or by learning some new skills, such as getting Horace to show him how to make the perfect fried egg, or asking Uncle Lorne to demonstrate his famous loon call?
And what does it mean when Owen's memory of Sylvia starts to fade? Can he find the courage and confidence that he needs to find her again, and what will happen if he does?
The Secret Life of Owen Skye was a smash hit with reviewers, award juries and readers of all ages. It received the Mr. Christie's Book Award and the Hackmatack Children's Choice Award, and was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award, the Ruth Schwartz Award, the Rocky Mountain Book Award and the Pacific Northwest Libraries Association Young Readers Choice Award. In After Sylvia Alan Cumyn has produced a charming and surprising sequel that captures perfectly the bewilderment and joy of being a kid. A funny, poignant, magical book.
"Who is Sylvia? Readers of this novel's predecessor, The Secret Life of Owen Skye, will know her as the object of Owen's most unspoken, utterly lovestruck affection. And then she moved away, (Note: This novel is billed as a sequel to The Secret Life of Owen Skye. Strictly speaking, it is possible to thoroughly enjoy After Sylvia without having read The Secret Life, but the question that must be asked is: Why anyone would want to forgo that pleasure?)....As incident piles upon incident, hilarious or horrifying, or both, this novel, a delicious mixture of hilarity and tenderness, rockets along to its climax. Alan Cumyn is the author of a half-dozen adult novels, most recently the award-winning The Sojourn. As a children's writer, his great achievement, in both After Sylvia and The Secret Life of Owen Skye, is to give readers not just compulsively readable narratives, but a hero--in fact, an entire cast of characters--that is instantly recognizable yet startlingly fresh and new."
--Susan Perren, The Globe and Mail
"Cumyn has a sense of humour that's shot through with wonder, a knack for showing a boy's tender side without ever sounding soppy. Indeed, After Sylvia is full of hilarious moments--Owen hanging off a drainpipe in a fit of impetuosity; Owen trying to sell tractor calendars from door to door; the crystal radio suddenly issuing bird calls when the boys are supposed to be asleep. At the same time, it's poignant and true: Cumyn evokes family fights, boring winter dinners ('boiled Brussel sprouts that smell like wet laundry,' grey mashed potatoes, 'one small, tough square of liver on every plate') and moments of excruciating embarrassment with uncanny precision. ('Her voice seemed very bright,' Cumyn writes of Owen's mother at the moment her brother spills the beans about Owen's secret love, 'like that of a doctor who has extracted a heart from a chest and is watching it beat on the table.') It's rare to get a novel of such boy appeal that's also funny, wise and literary, simultaneously slapstick and deeply perceptive. Both After Sylvia and The Secret Life of Owen Skye show just that achievement...."
--Deirdre Baker, The Toronto Star
After Sylvia is published by Groundwood Books.
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