Reviewers: The Ones Who Matter Most

Nothing has humbled me more than the responses of the first school readers of Odin’s Promise  this week. I’ve played it back in my mind so often that I’m sure I’ll never forget them or our time together. (Maybe I should use that strategy when trying to recall where I parked in the lot or left my keys, but somehow the emotional component just doesn’t measure up.)

I even have proof of their enthusiasm in the copies of the reviews they presented to me at the end of our meeting. With their permission, I’ll share them here, transcribed just as they were written. They thrill me in their words of praise for the story and characters, of course. But, as a teacher, I’m equally excited about the quality of their writing. Their teacher explained how reviews are structured, urged them to read a few others, and left it to them to write. These are clearly the voices of younger readers, but the writing rises to a level worthy of any professional publication, I’m sure you’ll agree.

2014-04-17 22.19.02

First, by Ryan:

Recently I finished the book Odin’s Promise by Sandy Brehl. It is a historical fiction novel about an 11 year old girl named Mari and her dog Odin. It is set during WWII in the small village of Ytre Arna. German soldiers have occupied Norway and Mari and her family are part of the resistance.

I thought this was an amazing book. I liked how the author developed the character of Mari. At the beginning of the book she relied on her family and friends for protection. Throughout the book, her family and Odin taught her to stand up for herself. I thought the glossary in the back of the book was very useful, also.

I would recommend this book to anyone 8 and older. I enjoyed it and hope everyone who reads it will too.


Next, by Emma:

Odin’s Promise is a historical fiction book by Sandy Brehl. The book took place during World War II, when the Germans occupied Norway. The main characters are a young girl and her faithful elkhound, Odin.

The book is touching, happy, sad, and even funny. I usually don’t read historical fiction, but this book was excellent. It made me feel many emotions – even triumph. I liked many, many things about Odin’s Promise. My favorites include the relationship between a person and their pet rather than a person and their family member/friend/parents, because sometimes people are more attached to an animal than another person. It also made me feel pride for Mari, the main character, because she works up the courage to become more independent.

In conclusion, I absolutely recommend that you read Odin’s Promise – nearly everything about it was excellent.


Now, from Elliot:

World War II was a horrible time, but in this historical fiction tale called Odin’s Promise by Sandy Brehl, a little girl named Mari discovers her inner-voice with the help of her faithful Norwegian Elkhound, Odin. Mari develops from a small girl that looks to her parents for protection, to a strong Norwegian fighting against the cruel reign of Hitler.

In this book, many exciting and terrifying events take place starting with a trip up the mountain for berries to discovering secret Norwegian resistances. With the help of her family, Mari finds courage and strength to face reality of this difficult time. Over the course of this fantastic novel, you will marvel at the friendship and bond between many of the characters especially Odin and Mari.

I can tell you firsthand you will love this book because the action, adventure, and fun. For all readers out there, I would recommend this book so you, too, can experience the bonds, changes in characters, and life lessons in Odin’s Promise!


And Megan says this:

The book Odin’s Promise by Sandy Brehl is about a young girl named Mari who lived in Norway during the time of World War II. She and her dog Odin go through many hardships in this historical fiction novel.

Odin’s Promise definitely goes into the category of one of my favorite books. It was one of the best books I’ve read in years. It made me laugh, smile, and cry. Relating to Mari and the other characters is incredibly easy. Readers will experience how it must have felt with the depression of war. I believe it’s the extraordinary detail, the exquisite storyline, and character development that made me feel this way.

Odin’s Promise is as well or better written than other famous books like Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling or Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan. I definitely think everyone should read this book. It’s wonderful!


And finally from Lily:

A little girl named Mari is picking berries on a mountain side with her dog Odin. Mari sees her neighbor Mr. Meier with two soldiers. He’s injured. When the two soldiers ask Mari if she knows him, she pretends not to know him. Why do you think she did that? What do you think happens next? Find out in the Historical Fiction book Odin’s Promise by Sandy Brehl. This book takes place in Norway during World War 2 and tells the story of Mari and her journey through a difficult time.

This book is very good. I give it 4 1/2 stars. The author paints a picture of what it’s like I Norway during German occupation. When reading this book, I experienced a wide range of emotion. I felt sad, happy and upset when reading it. I strongly recommend this book to discover how the promise relates to the story.

Roth HCE groupThere you have it, The kind of praise a writer would only imagine  in a dream sequence, written by young readers who happen to be impressive writers themselves.

Ryan, Emma, Elliot, Megan and Lilly, the way you took Odin, Mari, and their story into your lives is a gift beyond measure. Thank you all, and thank you to Colleen Roth for wanting to share Odin’s Promise with you. I’ll spend every writing minute trying to live up to your high praise in all future work. Yours are the opinions that mean the most to me.

Quick note: ahead of schedule the book is now available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, although the last I checked IndieBound doesn’t yet have a link set up. You can use the “BUY THE BOOK” tab in the top menu bar to find active links, if interested.

7 Comments on “Reviewers: The Ones Who Matter Most

  1. Sandy,

    Thanks again for the great honor of allowing us to be a part of your advanced reader group! I truly enjoyed the experience and I know the students did as well!

  2. So nice to read these well written reviews. Just the words any writer would love to read by a target audience. Very nicely written and warmly received.

    • This is what I’ve been waiting for most, having young readers respond with their reactions, questions, and concerns.
      No doubt it’s not going to be everyone’s taste, but finding those who love it is thrilling.

  3. This is the magic of a well written book touching hearts and minds of intelligent and empathetic readers. I am inspired on a multitude of levels!

    • Christa,
      “hearts and minds of intelligent and empathetic readers” is a perfect description of this group. They were a joy to meet and speak with, and would have been if we were speaking about any other topic as well.
      My feet haven’t touched the ground yet, and my heart is still glowing like ET’s!

  4. This is so wonderful to see the responses of your amazing book in the hands of young readers. I can’t wait to purchase copies for my daughters!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *