South of happy


Upper Middle Grade / Juvenile Fiction—Hardcover: 9781645482253—October 8, 2024

How do you find happiness when you've lost everything you've ever known?

After a harrowing ordeal of being lost in the hills and stalked by predatory creatures, Katie McCabe must deal with her anger toward Denton, the town bully, who left her in the middle of nowhere for days to survive alone.

With her world falling apart, things appear to take a turn for the better when Katie’s best friend visits, until she learns he’s running from the law. To make matters worse, her friendship with Logan causes tension and she might have to take sides between them.

Katie has bigger problems though as Denton wants nothing more than to pay her back for having him arrested, but she’s not backing down. When he catches Katie alone, the only question is—who will be left standing.

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South of Happy (Katie McCabe, Book 2) Information Sheet

Praise for Rain Falling on Embers (Katie McCabe, Book 1)

“[With] flawed, fascinating people young readers will relate to and care about, Gardner offers enticing reasons to follow on their paths in future series entries.” ~Booklife Review by Publishers Weekly, Editor’s Pick

“Gardner’s hero is more realistic than good, and readers will be drawn to the raw truth of her struggles.”
~Children's Literature

“[Rain Falling on Embers] will keep kids reading and talking. It does an admirable job of balancing heavy topics with a dash of humor and a big dose of adventure.” ~IndieReader (4.5/5)

“This captivating tale of human endurance is a wonderful read for both young and old.” ~Booktrib

“A cleverly plotted novel with a strong, memorable protagonist. Highly recommended!” ~The Wishing Shelf (UK)

“Kids ages 9-12 will find in Katie a rebellious spirit that masks an underlay of grief and growth, and will relish her ability to survive new circumstances and demands for different reactions to life.” ~Midwest Book Review

“What might seem like a typical troubled teen story turns into something unique and unexpected. The book has a great climax, and readers won’t see it coming.” ~Los Angeles Book Review

“A realistic, heartfelt, and serious drama the likes of which I’ve never seen in middle-grade fiction before.”
~K.C. Finn, USA Today Bestselling author

“This realistic, heartfelt drama is something many readers will relate to.”~Splash Magazines

“An intriguing start of a series about a young teen and her journey as she navigates personal loss, a new family, and even newer enemies.” ~Feathered Quill

“A marvelous novel. The most important message the book conveys is that every kid deserves to be
surrounded by the love and support of their family.” ~LitPick

“Katie’s beautiful yet difficult personality is portrayed with authenticity and integrity. This powerful novel shows that a child can endure loneliness, change, and loss.” ~Emma’s Insights

“The story took several unpredictable turns that brought out Katie’s tenacity. Those who like defiant, strong female characters will enjoy watching Katie’s antics.” ~Readers’ Favorite

Praise for Author’s Previous Works

7th Grade Revolution:

“Gr 5–8—A fun ride that combines treasure hunting, quick thinking, Revolutionary-era U.S. history, and teamwork. This novel reads like a National Treasure and Spy Kids movie combined. It has twists and turns. One of the novel's huge strengths is the kids banding together; in addition, each character has the opportunity to show individual skills and to grow as a person.” ~School Library Journal

The Journal of Angela Ashby:

“Hilarious, startling, and sometimes unexpected ... filled with achingly relatable tween moments and gentle lessons about the power of friendship, understanding other people’s stories, and living with the consequences of one’s actions.” ~Publishers Weekly