Pennies from Burger Heaven
by Marcy McKay
Genre: Literary Suspense
Publisher: SkipJack Publishing
Date of Publication: December 28, 2015
# of pages: 340
Eleven-year-old Copper Daniels is homeless and alone. She spends her nights sleeping beneath the cemetery’s Warrior Angel statue for protection, and her days battling the mean streets of Remington, Texas, hell-bent on discovering what happened the night her Mama disappeared. While Copper and her rag-tag group of friends find danger at every corner, two horrors are certain: her Mama’s really missing and someone’s after Copper, too.
In the tradition of The Lovely Bones and Room, Pennies from Burger Heaven tells a dark story through the eyes of a child. With wit and wisdom, Copper Daniels will steal your heart, then break it in two.
Awards for Pennies from Burger Heaven:
*Winner – Writers’ League of Texas: Best Mainstream Novel
*Winner – Frontiers in Writing: Best Mainstream Novel
*Winner – Frontiers in Writing: Best of Show
Praise for Pennies from Burger Heaven
“Against the gritty backdrop of an inner-city ghetto rises the unforgettable voice of eleven-year-old Copper ‘Penny’ Daniels, offering poignant and heartbreaking insights into the horrors and trials of homeless life on the streets, finding heaven where you least expect it, and help in those you never thought to ask.”
– A.G. Howard, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Splintered Series
“At once disturbing and exhilarating, heartbreaking and heartwarming, Pennies is the story of an undying love between a mother and daughter. It grabs you by the heartstrings from the start and won’t let you go, even after you’ve read the last word.”
– Ken Oder, author of The Closing and Old Wounds to the Heart
“Debut novelist McKay infuses Pennies from Burger Heaven with wit, charm and moxie, so much so that the achingly beautifulness of Copper Daniels’ life sneaks up on you. All of this wrapped around a mystery that is fast-paced and rife with tension, with a satisfying series of twists. Can’t wait for the next Burger Heaven novel.”
– Pamela Fagan Hutchins, author of the Katie & Annalise mystery series
I’m real big on writers writing what they know. And if I didn’t know better, I would think that McKay knows a whole lot about being homeless, gangs, and prostitution. And while I agree with all the praise given by the authors above, that last one makes me pause.
Beautifulness? Copper’s life is pretty much a nightmare. Her curly red hair is a beacon that thugs and dirty old men are drawn to. It seems like every turn she makes, Copper is narrowly avoiding death or rape. She’s literally limping around and getting stared at because she spends most of the time covered in bruises, scrapes, and blood. She acknowledges that trouble seems to find her, despite her lucky penny.
Even if you put the mystery aside of where the heck Copper’s mom is, the book reads like a good sleuth (chapters ending with one-liners that tell you nothing good is on the way) with a tough little 11-year-old on the beat. Although Copper’s mother taught her “you can’t trust anyone but yourself,” she’s wrong. Kinda. The kid finds out that the people she didn’t want to trust, are trustworthy after all, and vice versa.
I’m still sad about some outcomes. The characters were very real to me, so I’m attached like that. But to go back to picking on that one author up there, I didn’t get a feeling that there will be a sequel. And to be honest, I kind of hope that there isn’t one. I hope that Copper just gets to live her life as a normal, safe kid.
Marcy McKay knew she wanted to write stories the moment she read about Oompa Loompas in the fourth grade. She’s an award-winning short-story author and copywriter, as well as a freelance journalist. Her work has appeared in Writer’s Digest, Accent West, Roots & Wings, The Write Practice, Write to Done, and Positive Writer and Jane Friedman. Marcy lives in Texas with her husband and two teens, who all still like her…most of the time. McKay is a member of the Writers’ League of Texas and the Texas High Plains Writers.
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