Book Review by Aleah Jones
Aleah is fourteen years old and a summer 2021 teen volunteer
At my school library, the William Allen White award is a big deal. Each class gets a short summary of each nominee book, with the hope of getting students interested in reading them, and eventually, voting for their favorites. I enjoyed the opportunity to read several different nominee books and then vote. That’s how I stumbled upon Sweep: The Story of a Girl and her Monster.
First Line: “There are all sorts of wonderful things a person might see very early in the morning.”
This book is about a girl named Nan, who lost everyone and everything she ever knew. She is left with only two things to remember Sweep, her father figure. His hat, and a clump of soot that sometimes seems to have a mind of its own. Nan is hired to join a group of climbers, boys that climb chimneys to clean out the soot and grime, and she becomes a sisterly figure to them. When an “accident” happens on the job, and Nan is assumed dead, she escapes to an abandoned house. With new friends of the most unlikely kinds, including a magical golem, she continues to live in fear of her old boss, Wilkie Crudd. Her golem, whom she names Charlie, continues to protect her from harm. Nan starts to feel the pressure when she finds out that a golem doesn’t have a happy ending. She doesn’t want that to happen to Charlie because they are such great friends. Then, the time comes that she has to make a decision; continue to live in hiding or risk being found by Crudd as she protests unjust conditions of the climbers all over London?
This book is not only an exciting adventure, but it also has historical elements in it as well. When I read this book, I learned about the children who took on the role of climber to provide for themselves. It also teaches a lesson of friendship. Nan becomes friends with characters of all shapes and sizes, and also, characters of all species.
This book is really enjoyable to read because of all the plot twists woven in throughout the story. It is also a fun read because of the uniqueness of all the characters and their different personalities.
For some, this book might be a little confusing because of all of the flashbacks that appear throughout the story. Thankfully, all of Nan’s flashbacks are in separate italicized chapters, so it should be easy to distinguish when the flashbacks occur.
Sweep is an amazing story. It is a fantasy, history, and adventure story all rolled into one. It is a really exciting read, and I would recommend it to anyone who is over the age of ten. Younger kids may find some events in the story a bit intense.
This is an amazing story, and I would highly recommend that you read it and some of the other William Allen White Nominees. You may find a new favorite!
FYI: A few of the scenes in this book are a little intense, and a couple “accidents” happen that are slightly gruesome, but are not described in great detail.
Here’s a library link to Sweep by Jonathan Auxier