Sixteen-year-old Gradle Bird has lived her entire life with her Grandpa, Leonard, at a seedy motel and truck stop off Georgia's I-16. But when Leonard moves her to a crumbling old house rumored to be haunted by the ghost of Ms. Annalee Spivey, Gradle is plunged into a lush, magical world much stranger and more dangerous than from the one she came.
Here she meets Sonny Joe Stitch, a Siamese Fighting Fish connoisseur overdosed on testosterone, a crippled, Bible-thumping hobo named Ceif "Tadpole" Walker, and the only true friend she will ever know, a schizophrenic genius, music-man, and professional dumpster-diver, D-5 Delvis Miles.
As Gradle falls deeper into Delvis's imaginary and fantastical world, unsettling dangers lurk, and when surfaced Gradle discovers unforeseen depths in herself and the people she loves the most.
Gradle Bird is an unusual tale of self-discovery and redemption that explores the infirmities of fatherly love, the complexities of human cruelty, and the consequences of guilt, proving they are possible to overcome no matter how dark and horrible the cause.
What Readers Say
" This one goes into my top 10 list... a picture of the south painted so brilliantly other writers may just stop. But seriously, I love the Scout Finch-like spunk of the character Gradle Bird (though she is a true original), and the fascinating supporting characters (swear I grew up with a couple of these guys!) And all the while the author handles a subject that is paramount on our minds these days -- the real consequences of taking a prank too far and the long-term effects of bullying another human being. I wish this was a series, and hope to see more soon from this author. Move on over, Harper Lee... Gradle Bird's got all the right stuff to make this author a legend in the rich lexicon of southern literature :) "
—Shari Stauch, Amazon Client, Verified Purchase
" Be prepared to put everything else on hold, this book will grip you. Easily the most original book I've read in years, and it's a tremendous story. JC Sasser will put you through the emotional ringer, breaking your heart, making you mad, and getting you to root for a truly unique cast of characters. And I can't even begin to tell you what a gift for descriptions JC has. When she tells you about it, you can smell the sweat, see the truck stop hooker and feel the rain dripping through the roof. If you're a reader, this is the quality of book you're hoping for every time you pick one up. If you have any writing aspirations, it's the kind of book that makes you realize what great writing and creativity really looks like."
—Charleston Reader, Amazon Client, Verified Purchase
" From the first few sentences you know you're holding something spectacular in your hand that is going to move you. By the time you're at the end of the first chapter, you're so enthralled you cannot put this uniquely enchanting debut novel down. When you're done, you're filled with swirling emotions that tell you that you know you're going to read this again just to be sure you didn't miss a single word.JC Sasser has captured me and taken me on a down a country dirt road into a world filled with the most colorful characters with secrets to tell. And the way she does it is so unique, so vivid, so mesmerizing that I can only be left wanting more.If you are looking for something to read this summer while on vacation, sitting by your pool or just to occupy an entire weekend, this is the book to buy right now!"
― Jim, Amazon Client, Verified Purchase
Note: Now available. Click here
J.C. Sasser started her professional career at age twelve, working as a dishwasher, waitress, and cook at a truck stop off Georgia's I-16. Over her life, she has worked as an envelope licker, tortoise tagger, lifeguard, Senate page, model, editor, water-polo coach, marine biologist, plant grower, software consultant, and 6-Sigma Black Belt. Gradle Bird, was a short list finalist in the 2015 William Faulkner-William Wisdom novel competition, and her other writing credits include the short story and screenplay, The Pigeon Catcher (Ceiba Productions 2002). She lives in an old barn on Edisto Island, SC with her husband, Thomas, along with their two sons, T.C. and Robert Esten, and two dogs, Cro and Blue Moon June. Gradle Bird is her first novel.