Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

Why THIS Debut Novel Reads Like a BOSS


Sitting on Top of the WorldSitting on Top of the World

By Cheryl King

Historical Fiction/Young Adult

Via: Reedsy/Discovery

Launch Date:  December 31, 2021

Some books just grab your attention. Slide down your throat. And wrap themselves around your heart. Sitting on Top of the World is one of those books.   

June Baker is a “girl with gumption.” The “almost fifteen year-old” has to be while she rides the rails in search of work as the family farm hangs in the balance. How she got there and why rounds out the first part of this delightful book. What’s happens next fills the second half. Both pick up steam quickly in this heartwarming, delicious read about family, faith, loss, love, desperation, betrayal, and hope during the Great Depression.


Set in rural Tennessee in the 1930s, Sitting on Top of the World is the powerful and poignant story of a close knit family struggling to survive after the Stock Market crash. June is the youngest daughter. Her older brother is Joseph “Josy.” When their father is severely injured and the mother is gravely ill, Josy decides to “ride the rails” in search of work to help keep the farm – and his family – from going under. It’s dangerous and risky. But times are hard. The outlook is grim. And the family has lost almost everything else. When Josy leaves, tragedy follows. Will the family lose each other, too?

There’s a lot going on in this book. Multi-layered and richly textured, it’s about much more than surviving the Great Depression. It’s also about family. About choosing kindness. Joy. And hope. Gently faith-flavored, the story also describes how those hard hit by the Depression find the strength and grit to pull through. And how even if life “may be missin’ a whole lotta things that are supposed to still be with us, one thing we ain’t missin’ is love…”


This is a thoroughly enjoyable read, full of pathos and power. The writing is top-notch and features strong, solid characters. The story comes to a thundering conclusion when… Oh, wait. To find that out, you’ll have to read the book. (It includes a surprise ending of the O. Henry variety.)

I’ve read scores of fiction and non-fiction titles set during the Great Depression. Sitting on Top of the World is a stunner. It represents a towering achievement, especially for a first novel. (This book blows Kristin Hannah’s The Four Winds right out of the water.)

Grab a Hot Cuppa

So if you’re ready to cozy up with a great read, then pour yourself a hot cuppa. Grab a warm blanket. Snuggle up with this vibrant and vivacious read. It’s sure to warm your heart and brighten your winter – or any season. 

Our Rating: 4.5

2 thoughts on “Why THIS Debut Novel Reads Like a BOSS

  1. Terrific review!! Thanks for sharing.

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