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Sally Nicholls completed an MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University (UK). She wrote her first novel, WAYS TO LIVE FOREVER, when she was twenty-three, and it received three starred reviews and was named an ALA Notable Book. Sally Nicholls lives in London.
"Molly and her sister, Hannah, live with their grandparents in Northumberland, on the border between England and Scotland. Their mother has died and their father, unable to cope, has left them with his parents temporarily, though it is becoming more of a permanent situation, much to the girls' dismay. A ray of hope shows itself to Molly with the appearance of "my man," the Oak King or Green Man, the spring and summer figure in the life cycles of seasons. A mythical figure-as is his nemesis, the Holly King or Beast Man, ruler of fall and winter months-he is for Molly all too real. She witnesses as he perishes in the face of the Beast Man, only to reemerge as an unruly, adolescent, Puck-like figure when spring returns. As seasons change, so do Molly and her family members. Her father slowly recovers and rediscovers that his girls need him, and Molly begins making friends at school. She still takes comfort in "her man," and through him sees the never-ending struggles of life. At first somewhat slow, the book proves to be captivating as Molly's fantasy/coping skills introduce her to a life cycle that is painful, yet part of a continuum, and not solely the unbearable loss she initially experiences. For thoughtful readers, this tale is a gem. British lingo may be a bit unfamiliar to American children, but it in no way hinders understanding the dialogue in this meaningful story." -- School Library Journal "This atmospheric novel, which draws upon the legend of the Green Man, is a study in grief and renewal, reminiscent of Katherine Paterson s Bridge to Terabithia (1977) and K. L. Going s The Garden of Eve (2007). Molly and Hannah are sisters of wildly different temperaments who have recently lost their beloved mother to an aneurism. In the wake of the tragedy, they are sent to live with their grandparents while their father tries to pull himself together. Molly is a dreamer with a rich inner world, so when she discovers a mysterious man in the woods who is capable of growing flowers and trees at the touch of a finger, no one believes her. Molly, though, is convinced that the man is real and might be able to resurrect her mother. The story s underlying themes focus on how the natural cycle of winter to spring mirrors the emotional healing of a family. Moving seamlessly between fantasy and reality, this title offers a thoughtful, touching exploration of how we survive our darkest hours." -- Booklist"