2013 First Place Winner
Indie Reader Discovery Awards
The Burning of Cherry Hill is a tale set in a dystopian future, but it begins in a pastoral paradise.
Fourteen-year-old Zay and his sister Lina have been living on a beautiful, rural island with their parents and 1,372 other people, including his beloved girlfriend Hope. Aside from a few inexplicable quirks on their parents’ part, life is idyllic. One day, however, everything turns upside down when soldiers attack their home, burning the island and destroying everything except, apparently, Zay and Lina.
This story is amazingly powerful. It is told from Zay’s point of view, as a series of journal entries, up until the end, and the reader hears his voice clearly, with a vivid three-dimensional personality behind it. Other characters, even minor ones, live and breathe through the paper, not a one of them flat. The author has a gift for putting deep emotions into small gestures and images, and can break the reader’s heart or uplift it (sometimes both simultaneously) with a few deft verbal brushstrokes.