Friday, February 15, 2013

Maggie Vaults Over the Moon by Grant Overstake

Maggie Vaults Over the Moon
by Grant Overstake

Read all about Maggie Steele, a role-model for young girls everywhere. This book is best suited to young adults (middle grade through high school), although it truly is a book for the whole family. 

Don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY for your chance to win a paperback copy of Maggie Vaults Over the Moon. Thanks to Grant Overstake for the generous donation of this prize. The giveaway is open internationally.

Maggie Vaults Over the Moon retells the story of Maggie Steele, a gutsy, grief-stricken farm girl from tiny Grain Valley, Kansas, who pours her broken heart into the daring and dangerous sport of pole-vaulting. Driven by a secret that she dare not share with anyone, Maggie struggles over many obstacles as she attempts to soar way higher than her critics think a girl should ever go. Gripping in its portrayal of a teenager's grief and thrilling in its vivid descriptions of the exciting sport of pole-vaulting, Maggie Vaults Over the Moon is an inspiring and uplifting read!


Here in Grain Valley Township, we don’t have a paid fire department or ambulance crew to rescue us. We rescue ourselves. Dad has been a volunteer fireman, or first responder, since he was eighteen. My late grandpa also was one of the brave men who protected us, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. Dad always carries an emergency radio with him, fastened to the belt of his jeans. At night, the radio sits on the recharger, on his nightstand. No matter where he is or what he is doing, when the radio goes BEEEP! he leaps into action. The alarm means someone’s been in some kind of accident or one of our neighbors’ houses or barns is on fire. It doesn’t happen every day, but often enough. Too often, I say.

Sometimes the first responders are called out of our small country church on Sunday morning. Beeping radios go off all over the sanctuary. And even if the preacher is in the middle of a prayer, the men leap up and bolt for the door.

Being a first responder may seem exciting, but it’s stressful and dangerous. For one thing, they never know what kind of accident they’ll be responding to or how badly someone is hurt. And for another, since everybody knows everybody else around here, there’s a good chance that whoever needs help is related to one or more of the first responders, adding to the pressure.

It was shortly after eleven on Friday night, June third, almost a year ago, when Dad and Mom and I heard the beeper sound on the emergency radio. I was in the bathroom washing my face and getting ready for bed when Dad rushed from the bedroom toward the kitchen and ran out the back door to his pickup truck, which was parked outside in its usual spot, keys left in the ignition as always.

I heard the words “two-car crash, both cars are on fire, 39 Highway, three miles east” as the screen door slammed. The engine roared and wheels spun on the gravel as he sped away into the night.

Mom came out of the bedroom in her robe, fussing with her short salt-and-pepper hair. With the radio gone, the house was quiet. We had no way of knowing what Dad would find out there on the highway.

“Maggie, have you heard from your brother or your boyfriend lately?” Mom asked.

“Not since before supper,” I said.

When the alarm goes out, whoever is closest to the station drives over, opens the metal door, and starts one or both of the fire trucks, depending on what the call is. Some of the other men show up within two or three minutes, skidding to a stop and jumping from their pickups. They put on their boots, jackets, and gloves and dash to the trucks.

Through the screen door, we heard the sirens. Both trucks were on the roll.

“Why don’t you call your brother, see when they’ll be getting back home,” Mom said.

I hit the speed dial on my cell phone. It went straight to voicemail. Alex’s voice said, “It’s Alex. I can’t get to my phone right now, leave a message. I’ll call you back.”

“Alex, give us a call,” I said. “There’s a big wreck on the highway, and we haven’t heard from you guys. So call as soon as you get this. Bye.”

I dialed my boyfriend, Caleb, and got the same result—voicemail.

“Hey, Caleb! Call me back just as soon as you get this, okay?”

I texted Alex and Caleb: Hey! Where R U 2?

After that we just sat there at the kitchen table, Mom and me, listening to the grandfather clock ticking in the dining room, and the old refrigerator humming, and the crickets chirping outside the screen door. We sat there for twenty or thirty minutes but nobody called.

Finally Mom said, “Well, maybe they’re still at the movie.”

I nodded.

“Or maybe they’re just out of range.”

We get lousy cell phone coverage here in rural Kansas.

They say there’s a special bond between a brother and sister, that they always know when the other one is in serious trouble or something. Since I didn’t have either one of those feelings, I thought Alex and Caleb were fine. I expected them to roll in any minute, laughing and joking around, heading straight for the refrigerator to eat us out of house and home. Whoever it was out there in that car wreck, I was sure it wasn’t them.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Book Trailer

By Kirkus Reviews
In this debut young adult novel, a farm girl rebounds after a family tragedy, soaring to new heights as a pole-vaulter.
Teenager Maggie Steele has just lost her brother Alex in a tragic car accident. He was a beloved son and brother and also an all-star high school athlete in a small Kansas town where high school sports matter. Maggie is reminded each day of her brother, and she struggles to cope with life on the farm without him. She's the only child left to take over the family business, and she has a sinking feeling she'll be trapped there forever. As she begins her senior year, she still suffers from grief and anxiety about what to do with the rest of her life. [Plot spoiler removed] … Maggie finds her purpose. Overstake's novel exudes sweetness; in some ways, it feels as if it takes place in another era, as it lacks the dark edge seen in other popular YA stories. Former sportswriter Overstake's crisp style also gives the pole-vaulting scenes authenticity and tension. The story will most likely engage younger teenage girls, but its themes will resonate with anyone who has suffered profound loss.
A fine YA novel about perseverance in sports and in life.

About the Author

Former Miami Herald Sports Writer Grant Overstake is a lifelong participant in the sport of track and field who competed in the decathlon for the University of Kansas Jayhawks. A multiple award winner for excellence in journalism, Maggie Vaults Over the Moon is the author's premiere work of sports fiction.