Review: SandPeople by Cheryl Kerr

Review by Shannon

Cheryl Kerr's SandPeople takes young readers on a journey filled with family dynamics, ghostly encounters, and summer adventures along the Texas Gulf Coast. Despite its promising premise, the book faces challenges, leaving readers wanting more. One notable aspect is the title's unconventional style, combining "Sand" and "People" into one word, which may initially puzzle readers. While this choice may aim to draw attention, maintaining standard grammar practices, especially for young audiences, is essential. 

SandPeople suffers from a multitude of technical flaws, ranging from squinting modifiers to confusing dialogue and paragraph structures, along with redundant pronoun use in close proximity. Inconsistencies in character locations, such as Lea's mom purportedly being in New York while driving a Jeep along the Texas coast, further add to reader confusion. Scenes like Lea sitting in front of a basement window in the library defy logic and compound this issue.

The pacing presents another significant hurdle, notably in the slow and overly descriptive first three chapters, which impede reader engagement. Additionally, scenes like the introduction of Greta and Nicholas's interaction feel disconnected and lack narrative purpose, disrupting the story's flow. Despite these challenges, moments of genuine connection between characters, like Lea and Greta, offer glimpses of the story's potential brilliance.

In summary, SandPeople would greatly benefit from comprehensive editing and restructuring. With careful refinement, it has the potential to evolve into an enthralling page-turner for preteens. Cheryl Kerr's exploration of divorce as a prevalent theme, something many children grapple with, adds depth to the narrative. Through the lens of a young protagonist navigating her emotions while separated from her parents, the book tackles relevant and relatable subject matter.

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