Just over a year ago, I posted a review about Jeri Massi’s Peabody Kids Series, in particular, Derwood, Inc., my favorite title to teach in fifth grade reading classes. I recently found out she has a new book – also set in Peabody, Wisconsin – Hall of Heroes. While she employs a style of humor similar to Derwood, Massi’s latest title goes far deeper than the surface plot of a club of middle-schoolers battling a new gang of bullies.
The ongoing war of pranks between the two groups keeps the mood light even when the gang manages to steal the the Hall of Heroes’ clubhouse, a broken-down old shed. The club members lose more battles than they win, but “right is on their side,” and they press on toward victory.
Meanwhile, Jean, the youngest member of the Hall of Heroes, experiences a serious adventure of her own. She volunteers to help Martha Harris, a reclusive lady in her church. What begins as a do-gooder project grows into a beautiful relationship, and Martha teaches her what it means to be a real hero.
Jeri Massi is able to communicate Biblical truths on a kid’s level of understanding. As Christians, we all know we ought to love God. Massi starts with this taken-for-granted cliché and guides her readers to a clear understanding that loving God brings the beautiful experience of enjoying Him forever.
Jeri isn’t content with the standard “Heaven is a beautiful place where Christians go to live after they die.” No, heaven is much, much more. Not only is its beauty incomparable to anything on earth, heaven completes us as creatures made in God’s image.
Jeri Massi has continued to write nonfiction over the years, but I believe this is her first new fiction title since the 1980’s. I love it when a favorite author creates new work, especially after a long hiatus. Welcome back to the world of novels, Jeri!
I remember you mentioning that first book – I even emailed the author to ask if there were plans to rerelease it in ebook form. It is always a great feeling when a favorite author revisits a favorite series. 🙂
When I last checked, Derwood was owned by BJU Press and only publishes the novel within its reading curriculum, so I doubt they have e-books for public consumption. You may be able to find out from Jeri if she produces Hall of Heroes in e-book format, though.
She said BJU owns the rights and the rights are supposed to have the option of reverting when the book goes out of print, but they had not contacted her. Though based on my understanding of publishers, I doubt they would – unfortunately, it is the writer’s responsibility to push those things…. http://kriswrites.com/2012/10/24/the-business-rusch-rights-reversion/
Contractually, they are required to notify me, but they don’t. When I notify them, I’m told that the book is on hiatus. HALL OF HEROES, by the way, sin;t owned by BJU Press, and it *is* available in a Kindle edition.
Thank you for the review! I’m honored!
My interview with you should be posted tomorrow!
BTW, here is HALL OF HEROES on Amazon: