Friday, November 29, 2013

Review: Sally Slick and the Steel Syndicate

Sally Slick and the Steel SyndicateAuthor: Carrie Harris
Series: Yes
Published: December 3rd 2013
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions
Format: Paperback, 200 pages
Source: Author for review
Buy: The Book Depository

Every hero has a story. This one starts with a girl and a racing tractor. Sally Slick knows she's meant to be more than a Midwestern farm girl. What she wants more than anything is to be an inventor when she grows up-and she has the custom-built racing tractor to prove it. But good girls in 1914 don't go off to the city in search of adventure. Everything changes when Sally's big brother comes back from Chicago with a robot in hand and mobsters on his heels. With the help of her friend, wannabe hero Jet Black, Sally will risk everything to protect the people she loves. Those big-city bad guys are about to get a giant wrench thrown right into their plans.
If I were to get stranded on a desert island and allowed to pick just one person for company, Carrie Harris would be at the top of my list. Perhaps we’d starve in a matter of weeks (FINE, days!), but we’d at least go down laughing.

Carrie’s foray into Middle Grade fiction couldn’t have been more successful if she tried, and I get the distinct feeling that this lady doesn’t need to try very hard. That’s the real beauty of her prose – her sense of humor, utterly ridiculous as it may be, seems effortless and smooth, never the least bit forced. She did, admittedly, keep it a bit in check, this being an MG novel and all, but her lovely nature still shines from every page.

Middle Grade fiction or not, Sally Slick is Harris’s most mature work to date. A more careful reader will be rewarded by the strong feminist undertones that permeate every page. Sally refuses to live by the social norms, even though she lives in rural America in 1914 and she’s only 14-years old. She wants to be an inventor, not a housewife, and she wants to race tractors with her brothers instead of spending time in the kitchen with her mother.

In Sally Slick and the Steel Syndicate, Sally and her best friend Jet take on bullies, mobsters, the Steel Syndicate, and, worst of all, older brothers. They are resourceful and smart and they always stand up for themselves. Sally is unflinchingly loyal and she relentlessly defends those she loves.

But of course, Sally is not the only shining star of this book. There is also her best friend Jet, a clumsy, awkward, geeky kid, a follower by nature, but one with a lion’s heart. It is virtually impossible not to fall in love with this kid and wish to adopt him. Geeky and awkward or not, he has a spectacular future ahead of him.

Read this book. Share it with your daughters, nieces, and really, women of any age. When you’re done, share it with the boys as well, they have a lot to learn from it. And while you’re at it, read it out loud to your family pets. Every living creature in this world should meet Sally and Jet.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the author for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. Ooo how fun! I haven't seen this one before but your review definitely has me wanting to pick it up!

    Lovely review Maja!!

  2. Sally and Jet sound so awesome to discover. It's a new one for me I didn't know this one. If I understand well, it's a real book right? because with the cover it makes me think of a comic.

    1. Oh, no, not a graphic novel. Just a regular Middle Grade book, but better than most. :)

  3. Middle Grade isn't what I usually read, but this sounds really good. Plus, when you recommend a book so highly, I always sit up and listen. Thanks for putting this one on my radar, Maja!(:

  4. I do love Carrie Harris. She's got a wicked sense of humor and her female characters are so damn smart and well-written. Definitely checking this one out!

  5. Wow. It sounds AMAZING. I personally love MG fiction, (and historical!) so I'll probably give this a shot! Who doesn't love a strong girl main character and a geeky (if slightly awkward) boy character? Awesome review, girly! :)

  6. Like a lot of others have commented I don't normally read middle grade book, but this book sounds far too adorable to be missed out on. Sally in a lot of ways reminds me of myself, as all I wanted to when I was younger was ride around with my cousins all day, I never once wanted to stay in the kitchen, even now I do everything I can to avoid it! Lovely review hun!

  7. This sounds lovely, Maja. This is the first time I've heard of it but love all its quirks that you mentioned. :)

  8. This sounds like a really interesting read. I mean when you say you'd love to spend time on desert island with the author it tells me something. I don't read MG that much but this one sounds like something I don't want to miss. Amazing review, Maja :)

  9. I love a good middle grade and anything that makes me laugh is a plus. Thanks for the review.

  10. I don't usually read middle grade but this sounds like a lot of fun. I like the idea of Sally bucking the usual roles for a woman in that time period. I always love my heroines with some spunk. Wonderful review, Maja! :)

  11. I love discovering really good middle grade books because its not my genre of choice. I love how you describe the author and that enough sold me on the book. I do really like the cover as well =)

  12. I've never heard of this author, but the characters in this MG book sound fantastic. I will definitely have to look this book up. I'm growing a bit tired of the run-of-the-mill Percy Jackson-like books.

  13. ugh I been reading so many middle grade books how did I miss this one? :D sounds like a delight, and I am glad the author has a wonderful captivating writing style.

  14. I love Carrie's sense of humor, and Sally sounds like a wonderful heroine. I can always get behind a protagonist who shirks the norms and goes her own way. Jet sounds delightfully geeky and sweet too! I had no idea Carrie had a middle grade book, but now it is definitely on my must read list. Thanks for sharing your lovely review!

  15. Another book to add to the list for the bf's niece! Thank you, Maja!


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