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Gradle Bird by J.C. Sasser

Looking for a good Southern Gothic novel that’s perfect for the summer? I just finished a book that might be the perfect addition to your summer reading list: Gradle Bird by J.C. Sasser. Keep reading to find out why. 

gradle bird

Gradle Bird by J.C. Nasser
Published: 2017
Reviewed by: Jen
Rating: 4 stars
Find it here: Gradle Bird

At BEA this year I found myself standing a long line to get the latest John Grisham book signed for a friend. I struck up a conversation with a lovely woman who turned out to be the literary agent for J.C. Sasser and she peaked my interest in the book. A few weeks later, I received a copy of the book along with a nice letter and a packet of seeds from the author. The letter  and the seeds intrigued me and I pushed the book up to the top of my TBR. I’m glad I did, because I really enjoyed the book.

Gradle Bird is the story of a sassy and completely lovable 16 year-old girl, named Gradle Bird. She lives with her grandfather who is a silent, man of many secrets. Most of these secrets pertain to Gradle Bird’s childhood and family. Gradle Bird longs to understand why her grandfather seems so disconnected and aloof. The two of them have been living in a motel where her grandfather serves as handyman, but when they run into trouble, they flee to a mysterious rundown home. As the book unfolds we learn the connections that exist between this rundown home and Gradle’s grandfather. Along the way we encounter a whole host of characters including a recluse with mental health issues, two young men from troubled backgrounds, and even a ghost.

It’s hard not to draw parallels between Gradle and Scout from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Both are precocious children, sassy, funny, smart, and independent. More importantly, both stand up for what they believe is right. But Gradle Bird’s story is not a tale of racial inequities or injustices. Gradle Bird is a tale of self-discovery, guilt, and redemption. Characters in the book do some pretty cruel things but the real story is how they overcome the consequences of these actions.

I really enjoyed the book. It was a quick read and the main character is quite fabulous. The relationship between Gradle and her grandfather was touching and entirely believable. I was engaged in their stories and really appreciated discovering their history. As I mentioned, there is a supernatural element (e.g., ghost) in the book and normally in this sort of a book, that would have annoyed me. However, in this case, it did not detract from the story and was more about a spiritual connection that any kind of magical haunting. This piece was written in a way to raise doubts about the reality of the ghost. Was it legitimate or a figment of the grandfather’s imagination?

I would recommend this book as a good summer read for those who enjoy Southern Gothic novels and literary fiction. It deals with serious topics but is written in a humorous and engaging way. And on a completely superficial note, the cover and inside artwork is pretty great.

Want to try it for yourself? You can find your copy here: Gradle Bird

We want to hear from you! Is this a book that would appeal to you? Why or why not?

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Im curious – what is the connection to the packet of seeds you received?


    July 11, 2017
    • The flowers play a role in the plot.


      July 11, 2017
      • Ok, I won’t push for more details because that might entail a spoiler

        Liked by 1 person

        July 11, 2017
      • The vines grow throughout the house and play a prominent part in certain plot elements and I can’t tell you too much more without giving some things away but suffice it to say they are central to the imagery created


        July 11, 2017
      • I shall just have to read the book then !!

        Liked by 1 person

        July 11, 2017
  2. Thank you so much Jen for the great review. I hope you are successful in growing your moon vines.


    July 13, 2017

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