by Carrie Harris
Young Centurians, book one
Publication date: December 23, 2013
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. (description from Amazon.com)
Let me just say, I kinda want to BE Sally Slick when I grow up. No really, she's that cool. This is a girl who can do it all. Maybe she's not the greatest at some of the "girly" stuff, but her loyalty, caring, and good intentions overshadow what could be perceived as faults in 1914, and luckily Sally has a family that appreciates her for herself. Especially when her special "talents" save the day.
In the best sort of "pulp" fiction-y way, Sally's oldest brother gets mixed up with a Chicago mob led by a man with a metal face. The Steel Don, looking to create a robot army to rule the city, ends up trying to recruit Sally to work for his organization because her mechanical skills are just that good. With her trusty sidekick, Jet Black, by her side, though, Sally is unstoppable and a shrapnel-throwing stink bomb, the very first jet-pack, and several other awesome invention-laden prank-style evasionary tacticts later, this teenage phenom saves the day.
When Sally actually feels bad for doing what she can do, afraid her mother and brothers will frown upon her actions, she finds the exact opposite. Happily, they embrace her awesomeness, AS THEY SHOULD, and her mother says something that really stuck with me:
"Darling, you have time enough to figure out what kind of woman you're going to be. Whatever that is, I'll be proud. And I'm proud of my girl now, because she's a hero to me."
Amazeballs. I love it. No smart shaming here. Kudos to Carrie Harris and the other authors who are truly embracing female characters with skills. Similar to my favorite character of all time, Tamora Pierce's Alanna, Sally Slick is a girl that I think could tackle any problem set in front of her. I cannot wait to read her next adventure in Sally Slick and the Miniature Menace, coming in 2014.
Full disclosure: Review copy received from Author