Middle Grade Novel Author Crush: Katherine Rundell


In the middle grades, kids often experience their first real crush. So it’s only fitting I have a crush on a middle grade author’s books… Katherine Rundell.

I featured her book Rooftoppers last January. When Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms arrived this summer, I immediately checked it. Then, devoured it.

The short summary from the library catalog doesn’t provide any glimpse of the liveliness of this book and the quirky, lovable main character.  “Will must find her way after she’s plucked out of a wonderful life in Zimbabwe and forced to go to boarding school in England.”

After reading Rooftoppers, I knew the language would be magical.  I opened a pack of hot pink Post-it notes to mark various passages.  The quotes below describe Will’s first impressions after her arrival at a boarding school in England.

“The room smelled foul — of eggs and feet and the eternal indoors.  It was the smell of English.” p. 126

“She fell asleep with their voices jabbing at her heart, and dreamed of being chased through the bush by a pack of wolves, with sleek ponytails and rosebud pajamas.” p.129

I’ve never visited Zimbabwe, but Katherine Rundell’s vivid descriptions transported my imagination.  Having visited London and other large cities, the depiction of Will’s experience on the streets of London after running away from the boarding school were easier to form.  However, the flapdoodle of the situation required thinking about London from a different perspective.

While researching for this post, I discovered another title by Katherine RundellThe Girl Savage.  I immediately started looking for it.  Then, discovered it’s the original title of Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms from it’s 2011 release in Great Britain.  I was not happy. I’m ready to imbibe in another of her books.

Her last post on twitter was June 28th  “And now I’m off again, to tie myself to this chair and to get this book finished.”  She better!  (I wrote this post a few weeks ago.  She’s back on twitter.  I hope that means a new book is written.)

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