Reviews

The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones  

Now available in paperback!  

Journal of Adult & Adolescent Literature. “Although a post-Civil War perspective is critical to the story, Deadwood Jones is primarily driven by rich, interesting characters who are confronting problems that readers of any age will understand….Most importantly, The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones is just plain fun to read.”
ALAN Review. “Even though this book is the post Civil War ear, this has so much to offer young people of all backgrounds. Hemphill takes a tall tale and makes it applicable in today’s society.”
Recommended. Library Media Connection. “Hemphill doesn’t hold back on the realism of the times. Death, violence, and survival are themes in this book as well as the friendship and determination required to succeed. Following Prometheus as he comes of age on this cattle drive to Deadwood offers adventure that young readers crave….”
The Horn Book Magazine. “On the trail, the brutal realities of cowboy life are compelling but take second place to Hemphill’s painstaking character development and vibrant dialogue….an emotion-filled, memorable novel.”
School Library Journal. “Hemphill’s convincing vernacular narration and well-researched, hard-bitten details of life in the South and on the western range give this adventure story surprising depth.”
Book Page. “Hemphill lassoes readers with her gift for dialogue and nail-biting scenes of danger, and holds them with fascinating descriptions of cowboy life and clever historical references, such as a near-escape from braves fatigued from their victory over Custer at Little Big Horn. For a high-spirited tale of courage, talent and passion, gather ’round the campfire!”
Booklist. “Hemphill’s novel offers a carefully researched look at the often uneasy circumstances of a black teenager on the American frontier. Prometheus is an always sympathetic and engaging character, and the dangers and misadventures he encounters en route to Deadwood make for compelling reading.”
ALAN Online. October Picks. “This is a smart fictional narrative…”
Kirkus Reviews. “The adventures are non-stop…”
★  VOYA 2009 Top Shelf Fiction, Middle School Readers ★ South Dakota’s Young Adult Reading Program List, 2010-2011 ★  Nominated, 2011 Beehive Book Awards, Children’s Literature Association of Utah ★ Best Books of 2009, Nebraska Library Association ★ Virginia M. Law Award for the “most distinguished book for young adults on Texas History” ★ Best Children’s Books, Bank State College ★ Kansas State Reading Circle 2009 Recommended Reading List ★  Winter 2008-2009 Kid’s Indie Next List
Boyds Mills Press, 2008, Ages 10+, ISBN: 1-59078-637-8, 978-1-59078-637-6

Runaround   ★★

Starred Review, Library Media Connection. “Set in rural Kentucky in the 1960’s, Helen Hemphill’s latest novel focuses on family’s struggle to put a difficult past behind them and work out an uncertain future ahead.  At once heartbreaking and desperately funny, this story is much more than a tale of young romance gone sour.  Hemphill explores the bonds of family and resiliency of the human spirit despite pain and loss.  This is a perfect follow-up to her beautiful debut novel, Long Gone Daddy.”
Starred Review, Booklist. “The story is laugh-out-loud funny, but it is also a timeless tale of anger, grief, and love, with surprising twists in plot and character that will break your heart. The sisters’ realistic relationship challenges formula.”
Kirkus Reviews. “Deft comic pacing and snappy dialogue make this a gem of Southern storytelling. Hemphill is a strong new voice in children’s literature. A fine follow-up to her excellent debut, Long Gone Daddy.”
Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy. “Young adult literature has provided us with some great tomboy characters. Two of my favorites are Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird and Gilly from The Great Gilly Hopkins. Both were motherless, strong-willed, and mostly loveable. I would like to add a new name to that list—that of 11-year-old Sassy Thompkins, star of Helen Hemphill’s second book, Runaround.”
The Tennessean. “The novel’s down-home dialogue makes reading it aloud a joy, especially if you can manage a soft Southern drawl. This is a charmer of a book….”
Publishers Weekly. “Hemphill credibly portrays Sassy’s frustration at being 11, her desire to grow up, and her feelings of betrayal…”
Austin American Statesman. “This is a fine and intimate portrait of a young girl trying to find a place for herself in a confusing world, and should find a wide audience among girls facing the same situations today.”
BookPage. “The author of Long Gone Daddy (2006), Hemphill creates another Southern storytelling gem with attention to regional voice and vivid period details, from cherry Cokes to the sisters’ ongoing battle over their musical favorites: the Beatles vs. Elvis. The author also manages to capture the immediacy of tween emotions, as Sassy vacillates between acting grown-up and feeling frustrated. Through it all, readers will want to give Sassy a big ol’ hug.”
The Goddess of YA Literature. “Helen Hemphill’s first novel LONG GONE DADDY is one of my favorites from this year. Her forthcoming RUNAROUND will definitely be on the 2007 list as well….There are so few wonderful books to offer intermediate and younger middle school readers. RUNAROUND, in addition to being a great read, fills a huge void in the field of literature for tweens.”
★  Ten Romance Books for Youth, Booklist   ★  New Books to Use in the Classroom, Book Links  ★  by Mother Daughter Book Club
Boyds Mills Press (Front Street), Ages 10+, ISBN: 978-1-932425-83-3; 1-932425-83-7

Long Gone Daddy 

Now available in paperback!

LongGoneDaddy_PB_SmallRecommended. Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. “This is a terrific, thought provoking, introspective look at intergenerational strife and the struggles for appreciation and understanding by each character.”
Recommended. The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. “In her first novel, Hemphill catches the classic tone of the road-trip story,[and] she never overplays her quirky, satirically touched humor and picturesque particularity.”
Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy. “As with all road trip stories, the ultimate payoff lies in the journey itself. Readers will discover some surprises upon the characters’ arrival in Las Vegas, but the real joy here is in watching Harlan Q. and Harlan P. deal with their own demons in an attempt to make sense of their relationships with each other, with the world, and with God.”
VOYA. “Regional flavor, quirky humor, and strong father-son dynamics are the elements of this entertaining debut novel.”
The Alan Review. “A delightful story that lets the reader feel the emotions and battles of a teenage boy trying to understand his thoughts and life—separate from the thinking of his father.”
Ingram Library Services. “The author’s debut is a fine, well-crafted one, tackling tough themes of faith and family relationships with humor and [a] strong narrative voice.”
BookPage. “Hemphill brings a fresh, humorous voice to her tale of travel, the big city, deception and forgiveness….For readers who bemoan the violence and sordid storylines in many novels for teens, Hemphill’s lively tale and memorable characters will be a breath of fresh air.”
Publishers Weekly. “Hemphill borrows themes from Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood and a plot point from As I Lay Dying in this impressive debut, set in July 1972….Laugh-out-loud scenes, a marvelous narrative voice, period details and appealingly quirky characterization outweigh the too-tidy ending, making Hemphill a writer to watch.”Long Gone Daddy
Dallas Morning News. “…Helen Hemphill’s debut novel alternates between bittersweet and laugh-aloud funny, often in the same paragraph.”
Booklist. “In her strong debut…Hemphill strikes a confident balance between deep heartache and sharply irreverent humor.”
Kirkus. “Wryly funny.”
The Tennessean. “…a delightfully humorous and poignant story….a wonderful novel for the young adult and the 50-year-old young adult to discover on their own or together.”
★ Teddy Award, Writers League of Texas  ★ Books for the Teen Age, New York Public Library
Boyds Mills Press (Front Street), Ages 12+, ISBN: 978-1-932425-38-3; 1-932425-38-1