Review: The Way to Stay in Destiny by Augusta Scattergood

the way to stay in destiny by augusta scattergood

From the author of the acclaimed Glory Be, a novel that celebrates baseball, fast piano, and small-town living in the wake of the Vietnam War.

When Theo gets off a bus in Destiny, Florida, he’s left behind the only life he’s ever known. Now he’s got to live with Uncle Raymond, a Vietnam War vet and a loner who wants nothing to do with this long-lost nephew. Thank goodness for Miss Sister Grandersole’s Boarding House and Dance School. The piano that sits in Miss Sister’s dance hall calls to Theo. He can’t wait to play those ivory keys. When Anabel arrives things get even more enticing. This feisty girl, a baseball fanatic, invites Theo on her quest to uncover the town’s connection to old-time ball players rumored to have lived there years before. A mystery, an adventure, and a musical exploration unfold as this town called Destiny lives up to its name.

Acclaimed author Augusta Scattergood has delivered a straight-to-the-heart story with unforgettable characters, humor, and hard questions about loss, family, and belonging.

Description taken from Goodreads.

I feel pretty meh about Augusta Scattergood’s acclaimed Glory Be looking back on it. I thought it was contrived and boring and more of an award book than an actual great children’s book.

The Way to Stay in Destiny was a little bit in-between. It still had an annoying narrative voice, but it sounded and felt more genuine this time. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the historical fiction elements to the story. It added to the world-building and my perception of the area without taking away from the novel, and I enjoyed seeing Theo’s perceptions of things.

This actually remains me a lot of Ally Condie’s Summerlost, and I will be recommending it for people who enjoyed that one. This has less to do with grief and more to do with the era as well as the day to day struggles that Theo goes through. It’s not much happier in terms of overall tone, but it is a bit lighter.

I felt like Summerlost was paced better, and I ended up liking it more, but this one could be better for middle-grade boys who are looking for a similar story or just a historical fiction book with a unique setting. It’s also great for such a short read. There’s a good amount of story in here, but not a draggy word count. 2.5 stars.

pg count for the hardback: 192


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