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SW Quinn
Runaway Silver
SW Quinn, author
Experience the #1 International Bestseller today! #1 Children's Survival Story (Amazon, September 2021) #1 Teen/Young Adult Fantasy & Supernatural Mystery (Amazon, September 2021) #1 Teen/Young Adult Fiction about Self-Esteem (Amazon, September 2021) They say practice makes perfect. But what if perfection were possible...without any practice at all? Imagine: Your first-ever cartwheel, a perfect ten-and your second, and your third, and every cartwheel after that. Your back-handsprings, Olympian. Your paintings, photo realistic. Anything and everything ever attempted: a cinch, a masterpiece, the state of the art. All on the very first try. Impossible? Sure, for the average girl. But for nine-year-old Lily Lilac, repeating what she's seen with her own two eyes is as easy as humming what she's heard with her own two ears. For Lily, a perfect performance isn't just possible: It's only natural. All she needs, just once, is for someone to show her how. But even perfect girls must live in imperfect worlds. When the unthinkable upends Lily's peaceful, prairie life, she's forced to make her escape-only to swiftly make an entrance, in a place she never expected. A place that expected her even less. There, Lily's search for refuge becomes a search for answers, and her powers become her only hope for survival.
This captivating, fantastical story for young readers looks at trauma, giftedness, and survival through the eyes of Lily Lilac, a nine-year-old girl with a highly original uncanny ability: Lily can do anything she wishes to after being shown how to do it only once. This special power came from her mother, who quite typically told her daughter she could do anything she set her sights on–but in Lily’s case, this oft-uttered comment yielded extraordinary results. “The thing about ordinary words … is that they can do extraordinary things if uttered just the right way, to just the right person, at just the right time.”

Following her mother’s tragic death and her father’s disappearance, Lily’s blonde hair turns gray, and she wanders aimlessly until she stumbles upon a circus, where her uncanny ability to juggle, tumble, and do stunts amazes the other performers. Two narrators with playful yet knowing voices tell Lily’s tale, regularly referring to the reader as the “spectator.” This seems awkward at first, but as one narrator reminds us, “You, our esteemed spectator, have come expecting a show.” Indeed, reading this occasionally tense story offers the same sort of thrilling, voyeuristic experience as attending the circus where Lily performs–it may be tempting to look away, but the action is just too compelling.

Ultimately, the wayward Lily finds a sort of home at the circus. Since she can’t remember her name or how she got there, the circus master dubs her Silver, a reference to her shimmering gray hair. This installment of Lily’s story ends abruptly, with the promise that more will be revealed in the next book. Lily may be on the precipice of fame, but anticipation regarding new enemies and what will happen when she discovers her harrowing history will keep “esteemed spectators” coming back for more.

Takeaway: A nine-year-old girl with secret powers meets disaster and triumph in this fantastical story.

Great for fans of: Shannon Hale’s The Goose Girl, Anne Ursu’s Breadcrumbs.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A