Halfway to Harmony by Barbara O’Connor

Coming January 2021 for Middle Grades

“I now live in Asheville, North Carolina, with my husband and two dogs. I have one grown son. I love being a writer. I get to sit at my desk and pour my memories of my Southern childhood into my stories. Sometimes my characters eat boiled peanuts. Sometimes they go to the Smoky Mountains. Maybe they see kudzu vines covering up barns or listen to church music on the radio inside their trailers. They might catch crawfish in an icy cold stream or eat pickled okra from a jar. My stories have pieces of me in them – all mixed in with the made-up parts. That’s what writers do – mix in the real stuff with the made-up stuff. And they can wear their pajamas all day long if they want to. What could be better than that?”

Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

A boy, a dream, and a truck.

Walter and his parents are grieving the loss of Tank, who joined the army and never returned to Harmony, Georgia. Tank’s younger brother, Walter, is drifting along the Chatahoochee River floating on his own despair while nightly tangled in a recurring dream. A new neighbor from Tennessee, Posey, moves in next door and just might be the kindred spirit Walter needs.

Posey is a gutsy girl with a three -legged dog named Porkchop and a near photographic memory. That phenomenal memory is an integral piece to the puzzling relationship that develops between Walter and Posey. Readers are treated to or maybe bombarded with trivia from Posey’s favorite books, Nuggets of Knowledge and Caesar Romanoff’s Rules for Making Friends. Walter and Posey become involved in the rescue and recovery of a man “that fell from the sky,” AKA “Banjo!” As the “not so subtle” Posey shares “rules for making friends” the lines of Walter’s anger and grief are slowly erased.

Readers’ hearts will ache at the quest for “normal” love and acceptance, motherly hugs and real smiles, that Walter is praying will return to his family since Tank “left.” Walter’s hopes and dreams for the future soar amidst a hot air balloon race and back to school nervousness. Meanwhile, Banjo’s eternally positive approach to life and quirky expressions along with Posey’s font of knowledge, helpful friendship hints, and determination will have young readers rushing online for a copy of Nuggets of Knowledge and practicing rules #1-7 for making friends.

“Good grief and grits” grab a copy of Halfway to Harmony for a chance to hear Tank saying, “Blow out them candles, little man, and I’ll show you my world.”

Your new friends will thank you for reading Halfway to Harmony. Five friendly stars-***** GR

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