Governor General's Literary Awards

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and her Monster

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster

By Jonathan Auxier

Puffin Canada/Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers; distributed by the publisher

978-0-7352-6435-9

Synopsis

Sweep is a heart-rending adventure about the everlasting gifts of friendship and hope. For nearly a century, Victorian London relied on "climbing boys"—orphans owned by chimney sweeps—to clean flues and protect homes from fire. The work was hard, thankless and brutally dangerous. Eleven-year-old Nan Sparrow is quite possibly the best climber who ever lived—and a girl. With her wits and will, she's managed to beat the deadly odds time and time again. But when Nan gets stuck in a deadly chimney fire, she fears her time has come. Instead, she wakes to find herself in an abandoned attic. And she is not alone. Huddled in the corner is a mysterious creature—a golem—made from ash and coal. This is the creature that saved her from the fire. Sweep is the story of a girl and her monster. Together, these two outcasts carve out a life together—saving one another in the process.

"A tender story of what makes us human, Sweep doesn’t shy away from the risks of love and monstrousness of indifference. With an impeccable narrative, Sweep shows how love can breathe life into darkness and how hope can spark change. Auxier weaves a multi-layered masterpiece with endearing characters and gut-wrenching twists that are certain to instill readers with a sense of wonder and discovery for the miracle of storytelling."

Peer assessment committee: Shelley Hrdlitschka, Philip Roy, Sarah Tsiang

Jonathan Auxier
Photo: Libby Hilf

Biography

Jonathan Auxier writes strange stories for strange children. His debut novel, Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes was a Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award Honour Book, and was also shortlisted for both the Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy, and the Diamond Willow Award. His New York Times Best Seller The Night Gardener was a finalist for a Governor General's Literary Award, as well as winner of the Silver Birch Award, Monica Hughes Award, the TD Bank Children’s Literature Award, and the Canadian Library Association’s Book of the Year Award. His third book, Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard, won the Sunburst Fantasy Award. Auxier grew up near Vancouver and now lives in Pittsburgh with his family and their adorable pet umbrella. 

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