Blogtour “Down to Earth” by Betty Culley

Posted 26-08-2021 by Marion in Allgemein / 8 Comments

Hey, guys!

I’m back with a entry for the Down to Earth blogtour that is arranged by TBR and Beyond Tours! Not only will you get a review but also a Journal spread from me. 🙂
Don’t forget to check out the other tour stops!

Genre: Middle Grade
Publishing date: August 24th, 2021

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Counting by 7s meets See You in the Cosmos in this heartwarming coming-of-age story perfect for the budding geologists and those fascinated by the mysteries of the universe.

Henry has always been fascinated by rocks. As a homeschooler, he pours through the R volume of the encyclopedia to help him identify the rocks he finds. So, when a meteorite falls in his family’s field, who better to investigate than this rock enthusiast–with his best friend, James, and his little sister, Birdie, in tow, of course.

But soon after the meteorite’s arrival, the water in Henry’s small Maine town starts drying up. It’s not long before news spreads that the space rock and Henry’s family might be to blame. Henry is determined to defend his newest discovery, but his knowledge of geology could not have prepared him for how much this stone from the sky would change his community, his family, and even himself.

Science and wonder abound in this middle-grade debut about an inquisitive boy and the massive rock that came down to Earth to reshape his life.

Henry comes from a family of dowsers – people who can find underground water reservoirs and the best places to drill wells – and he desperately wants to be a dowser too. However, the showing of his “gift” is late

Henry is a sweet kid. He is shy and quiet and inquisitive and while homeschooled he learns a lot about the world from books and by expericence. He loves rocks and he wants to be a dowser just like his dad and his uncle and his granddad before. I really liked Henry and liked how his worries and endevours were portrayed and also his relationship with his parents and his sister, Birdie.
Birdie was just so cute. She’s two years old and talkes in two two word sentences. More then once I giggled about her antics and was so happy about how well Birdie and Henry got along.

I loved the bits of science that were woven into this book. For example, while I know about the concept of dowsing, I had no idea that was the english word for it and was a bit puzzled at the beginning. It was nice learning something new though. I also think I learned something about rocks in general, about geology and about meteors which was fun. Betty Culley has spun it neatly into the story and I lapped those sciency bits up.

I also loved about the sense of community that the book portrayed. Henry could lean on his parents and the neighbours were helping Henry’s family and I enjoyed the sense of togetherness and support.

Unfortunately, I had a bit of a rough start with this book and that continued through the book. I kept putting it away for days on end before coming back to it and soldiering on. There was just something about the pacing that was off to me and I couldn’t really enjoy myself too much while reading. The overall tone felt a little like a very grisly day, with low hanging clouds and drizzle at the edge of the woods to me.
I have since thought about it long and hard and came to the conclusion that maybe, since our home was flooded in late July, maybe the topic just hit a little too close to home? Maybe the timing was just wrong and I would have enjoyed it more, if I read it before the flood. Unfortunately, I will never know.

Let me make it clear: It was not a bad book. I would never say that. But it was just a little too slow, too solemn for my liking. I liked the characters, I liked the writing, I just didn’t like the overall tone and pacing of the book. I even think I learned a thing or two, which is always great. I also think that a child who likes to learn or has an interest in geology, might enjoy this book. If the premise interests you, I would definitely say, you should try it. It was just not completely right for me.

My Rating:

{3,5 foxes}

Betty Culley’s debut novel in verse Three Things I Know I True, was a Kids’ Indie Next List Top Ten Pick, an ALA-YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Nominee, an ALA-YALSA Quick Pick, and a Junior Library Guild selection. Her first middle-grade novel Down to Earth, is inspired by her fascination with meteorites, voyagers from another place and time. She’s an RN who worked as an obstetrics nurse and as a pediatric home hospice nurse. She lives in central Maine, where the rivers run through the small towns.

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8 responses to “Blogtour “Down to Earth” by Betty Culley

  1. Louise

    Great review! I think this sounds like a good book but probably not for me for similar reasons! I bet there are loads of people out there who would love it though. The journal spread is really good! x

    • Thank you, Louise!
      I was wondering if I would have liked it more if I read it at a different time. Maybe, maybe not. I’m sure other people will like it though.

  2. Omg, I loove your journal spread, Marion! It’s so well done 😍 I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy this one more though. It does sound like an interesting read—I’m always a sucker for strong family and community relationships in books, and Henry does sound like a great character! As a mood reader, I really get that sometimes a book just doesn’t work for you. Great review though 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Dini! The spread is only because of you, you know. 🙂
      I kinda wish I would have liked this better too but in the end I could just not enjoy it properly. Maybe you want to give it a try though?

    • Yeah, I totally get the appeal of learning things from encyclopedias. Totally get it. My mom would never explain words to me when I was a kid, she would always make me look them up in a dictionary and while I was annoyed back then, I look back at that quite fondly now. 🙂

      • I think I liked encyclopedias better because they had pictures and glossy pages. 😉 But looking things up in the dictionary could be fun, too. We used to play a game based on that—one person would find an obscure word, and then everyone would try to make up definitions that sounded plausible.

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