Perhaps there is always a mark, when another person touches you, an invisible thread connecting you to them.
Backbreaking work, threadbare clothes, and black coal dust choking the air -- this is what a miner's daughter knows. Willa Lowell fears that this dust marks her to be nothing else, that she will never win against the constant struggle to survive. Even the fierce flame of her family's love -- her one bright spot against the darkness -- has begun to dim.
Willa yearns for a better life -- enough food to eat, clothes that fit, and a home free of black grit. She also yearns for a special love, the love of a boy who makes her laugh and shares the poetry she carries in her heart.
When a much brighter future is suddenly promised to her family, Willa knows it is a miracle . . . until she discovers that every promise has a price. But she also discovers that the real change has burned inside her all along -- if only she is strong enough to mine it.
Writing in a style that is as breathtaking and lyrical as it is powerful, Gretchen Moran Laskas draws from her family's past to bring to life the story of a girl struggling against seemingly insurmountable odds. The Miner's Daughter will touch readers' hearts and stay with them long after they've read the last word.
Gretchen Moran Laskas has also written the adult novel The Midwife's Tale, which also takes place in West Virginia. She grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but currently lives in Fairfax, Virginia, with her family. Visit her at www.gretchenlaskas.com.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (June 24, 2008)