“The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane by Kate O’Shaughnessy is a sweet, tender story for those of us who have not yet found our voice and those of us who have lost it. Eleven-year-old Maybelle Lane is looking for her perfect happy ending, but oftentimes the one you are looking for and the one you find are completely different, and that’s okay.”
— Jenny Siegel, Anderson's Book Shop, Larchmont, NY
Maybelle Lane is looking for her father, but on the road to Nashville she finds so much more: courage, brains, heart--and true friends.
Eleven-year-old Maybelle Lane collects sounds. She records the Louisiana crickets chirping, Momma strumming her guitar, their broken trailer door squeaking. But the crown jewel of her collection is a sound she didn't collect herself: an old recording of her daddy's warm-sunshine laugh, saved on an old phone's voicemail. It's the only thing she has of his, and the only thing she knows about him.
Until the day she hears that laugh--his laugh--pouring out of the car radio. Going against Momma's wishes, Maybelle starts listening to her radio DJ daddy's new show, drinking in every word like a plant leaning toward the sun. When he announces he'll be the judge of a singing contest in Nashville, she signs up. What better way to meet than to stand before him and sing with all her heart?
But the road to Nashville is bumpy. Her starch-stiff neighbor Mrs. Boggs offers to drive her in her RV. And a bully of a boy from the trailer park hitches a ride, too. These are not the people May would have chosen to help her, but it turns out they're searching for things as well. And the journey will mold them into the best kind of family--the kind you choose for yourself.
About the Author
KATE O'SHAUGHNESSY's love of reading and writing stories began in early childhood and only grew stronger. She has been a chef, earned a fellowship with the Yale Sustainable Food Program, and backpacked around the world. She and her husband live in Berkeley, CA. You can read more about her at kloshaughnessy.com and follow her on Twitter at @kloshaughnessy.
"Maybelle Lane finds courage she didn't know she had—and it's contagious. A rich and rewarding debut." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Lyrical and full of heart, this road trip story gets to the core of what it means to create family, to be brave, and to accept the flaws of being human." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"O’Shaughnessy’s debut is illuminated by characters each brimming with charm and grit. This novel layers themes of resilience and finding love in unexpected places [and] will be welcomed into the hearts of many readers."—School Library Journal
“There is healing in this book, and laughter, and grace, and surprising love. Don’t read it with a box of tissues—just cry, then smile and grow.” —Gary D. Schmidt, author of The Wednesday Wars, a Newbery Honor Winner
"O’Shaughnessy creates a whimsical world where words and sounds carry everyday magic. Hand to fans of Kate DiCamillo." —Booklist
"Packed with the triumphs, mishaps and self-discovery essential to a great road trip story, Maybelle's mission to Nashville takes readers on a quest that emphasizes the importance of found family and hope. Lonely or not, Maybelle Lane's heart beats with grace and courage." —Shelf Awareness