Sweep

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

I sat on this review for a few days after finishing the book.  It's an interesting story, and the author is clearly good at what he does.  This is a very unique story and not something I have seen before in my middle grade reading.  However, I am really struggling to figure out what 10 - 14 year old is going to appreciate this story.  If it was read as a read aloud in a classroom or as a bedtime story, I feel like that would give an adult the opportunity to explain some of the themes and situations that are discussed in this story.  If a child does not have a background knowledge of Jewish history and customs, he or she might be a little lost.  Also, this story has a lot going on in it, and I felt like it could have been streamlined a little more to appeal to the middle grade age of readers.  All of that being said, I enjoyed the characters and themes of this book.  The ending is beautiful and sweet and lovely.  I am going to try really hard to booktalk this book this year.  Hopefully, I will have some kids that will give it a try.
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Sweep was the perfect book for me. It's about a feisty girl who is smart and brave and lives in Victorian London. It also has a bit of fantasy too, because she befriends a golem.
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I’m going to call it historical fantasy... but it feels SO real! So many wonderful quotes and ideas and thoughts to take away. Sad it took me so long to get to it, but will be one I’ll be recommending for a very long time!
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Storytelling perfection with beautiful characters that leap of the page and live in the real world, at least in the hearts of the reader. The writing is at times lilting and lush and at others straightforward and simple. And one of those historical fiction novels that makes you want to learn everything you can about the time you’re reading about.
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Sweep is a stunning children's story that is bound to become a classic! I loved the characters, especially Nan, they jumped off the page and pulled me, heart and soul, into this beautiful book. I read it in one sitting, disappearing entirely into Nan's rooftop world. I was gripped by the story of a girl chimney sweep and her monster and cried buckets of tears.
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This was a really sweet story. I expected it to be scary, but it's not. There are some sad parts, and the underlying story (about the child chimney sweepers of London) is very grave, but the overarching themes of friendship and loyalty are much stronger. There are many memorable characters. I am going to try and listen to the audio because I ended up rushing through the last couple of chapters to find out what happened. A wonderful middle grade read.
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This is an incredible story about loneliness, friendship, loyalty, protection and sacrifice. Nan finds herself alone in the dangerous world of chimney sweeping after the Sweep disappears. When Nan gets stuck in a chimney fire and miraculously escapes, she discovers that she really is not alone. This is when the real adventure begins. Nan finds that he has a companion that has been with her all along, a monster, a golem. The two set out on an adventure to change the world around them. This book was full of emotion. What a beautiful story of friendship! I finished Sweep a couple of months ago (could not put it down) and it still lingers in my mind. I find myself wanting to curl up with the characters all over again.
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I loved this one so much. Nan is a chimney sweep.  She remembers life with her father, the Sweep, but he disappeared one day and she was forced to work for one of the Masters.  Life is miserable - sooty, dangerous, with no hope.  All her father left her was a bit of char that always seems to warm her.  One day she is working a particularly dangerous job and gets stuck.  The solution - burn her out - but somehow she survived and decided to hide.  What she soon discovers is that her char, her gift from her father, is actually a golem made from soot.  Charlie, the char, grows and becomes her friend, her protector.  But as with all golems 0 Nan learns, once he has fulfilled his job he will leave.  Can Nan help her fellow sweeps and keep Charlie?

Loved the friendship, the social message, and the adventure.
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Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster is a middle grade historical fiction novel by Jonathan Auxier. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because I’ve enjoyed some of Auxier’s other books, and I thought it would be a good fit for my three girls who are in the fourth and sixth grades. 

Nan Sparrow works as a chimney sweep in Victorian London. It’s a miserable existence, with no end in sight, but that changes when she meets Charlie, a gentle creature who befriends her. Nan has never really had a friend, and she is fiercely protective of Charlie. She understands that he would never hurt anyone, but is there a place in the harsh world for a monster?

This was an amazing book. My girls loved reading it so much and always asked to read another chapter whenever we finished one. My oldest thought it was a nice mix between realistic fiction and fantasy. She says that it’s a nice blend of beautiful and dark. My younger two liked the funny parts the best. As a family, we especially enjoyed Auxier’s take on Jewish mysticism by including golems. 

Auxier has a delightful cast of secondary characters to support Nan. Some are nice, and some are not so nice, but they all play an important role in her story. I appreciated Auxier’s effort to humanize one of the more unpleasant characters. I have to remain vague, but clearly there’s a reason for [redacted] sullenness.  

I would absolutely recommend Sweep for middle grade readers. My girls were riveted by the story, and I bought a copy for us to keep as well as the Audible edition. They definitely enjoyed reading about a girl doing daring things, and they even liked learning about William Blake. This English major certainly appreciated the opportunity to break out some of Blake’s greatest hits. I am looking forward to sharing more of Auxier’s books with my girls in the future.      


I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book.
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I really enjoyed this book about Nan Sparrow, her sweep, her fellow climbers, and the golem. I learned a little about chimney sweeps in Victorian London, and learned a great deal about the power of love. Thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for allowing me to be an early reader in exchange for my fair and honest review.
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My Review: I happened to stumble upon this book while browsing and the premise sounded so interesting and unique that I had to give it a try (of course the beautiful cover also helped). I don't think I have read anything quite like this book. Nan has quite the story to tell and it was both heartwarming and heart breaking. I loved the historical elements of this story, they were really eye opening to an ugly element of history that we don't learn about in school or really hear about at all. There were also some religious elements in there that added another layer to the story. It was a bit of a slow read at times but you get so wrapped up in Nan and Charlie and the other kids that you just want to keep reading.



My Rating: This was such a different story from ones I have seen in the past, I really enjoyed the blend of factual elements and mythical elements, they blended so well and created a beautiful story.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!
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Nan Sparrow is an orphan who has no other choice but to spend her days working for the chimney sweep, Wilkie Crudd. She is at the mercy of Crudd and his cruel ways, risking her life by climbing into chimneys that are only narrow enough for a child. Nan, an expert at chimney climbing, has been very lucky until the day she gets stuck. When a treasured gift from her past master turns into a monster, actually a golem, her life is miraculously saved and a new and unusual friendship forms.

Charlie may have been born of a piece of char, but he makes a terrific friend for Nan. Their friendship is just delightful, odd yet sweet. As Nan researches golems she begins to think about his purpose and wonder about the duration of his existence. Their journey together shows the power of saving others to save ourselves.

Nan is a resilient and courageous character. Throughout the book, she changes from a girl controlled by a master to someone fighting to make things right for those who are suffering and treated unfairly. She has fears, but she faces them head on to survive and make things better for herself and others.

With its magic, there is a fairytale quality to this book. Set in Victorian England, I could also imagine traveling over the rooftops of London with Nan and Charlie. Sometimes dark, the story is also one of hope. It offers the reminder that there are many wonders within our world waiting to be discovered.
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In my favorite middle grade book of the year so far, Nan is a child chimney sweep, poor and struggling under the rule of a corrupt man who treats the orphans in his care as if he's Fagin in Oliver Twist. Nan remembers The Sweep, a caring man who raised her until his mysterious disappearance and she finds a bit of char in her pocket that he left her that turns out to be much more than she ever thought. Auxier's story has everything I look for in a great book: a smart, capable protagonist, a complete story arc that includes character growth and some universal themes, descriptive language that shows readers some original observations, and that extra bit of magic that speaks to my heart. 
 This should be on everyone's to-read list.
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Sweep has a very Dicken's quality about it. It It has a historical fiction feel with a touch of magic. I think it would be a good book for a class wide read and unit study. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. I knew I'd like it alot but I really loved it and can't wait to buy a copy for my nephew.
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I've like Jonathan Auxier's other works, but this one left me a bit cold.  I liked the story line, a girl is raised by a philosophical and kind of cryptic chimney sweep.  When he disappears one day, she's left with a little piece of char and a gift for sweeping chimneys.  She ends up working for another chimney sweep with a group of homeless boys who are abused and neglected and worked far too hard.  One day, Nan is out cleaning a chimney at a school and she gets stuck.  The manager decides to get her out by lighting a fire.  Nan is nearly killed but manages to escape, but the char has grown and changed and now it can talk.  Nan figures out that it's like golem and it's meant to protect, but it doesn't have a long shelf life.  The grownups in the story didn't feel real to me (except for maybe the teacher) and it felt like there were several things that didn't really add up, like how Nan and her golem could live in an unoccupied house without anyone complaining, how Nan was able to make a living while they were living in this house (she was sweeping chimneys, but the narrator kept telling about jobs she turned down without telling about the jobs she did).  Overall, I just didn't enjoy it as much as some of his other works.
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LOVE this one. Lots of kids are going to agree and this one might be an award contender.... just sayin'. Please see my full review at: https://www.readingrumpus.com/2018/08/sweep-story-of-girl-and-her-monster-by.html
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In Victorian London, homeless children are often brought into the business of chimney weeping and referred to as ''sweeps." Nan is an 11 year old girl and one of the better climbers among her Mater Creed's business. But when a seemingly hopeless situation turns into a chance at true freedom (with a new friend) Nan sets off on a journey. 

This is a terrific fantasy about the bonds between friends and hope that can arise from even the most unlikely situations. Readers will be drawn into the world Auxier has created and will find themselves cheering for Nan and her friend Charlie.
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I got a copy of this book from NetGalley to review.  Previous to this book I read Auxier’s “The Night Gardener” and “Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes” and really enjoyed both of them.  I ended up really loving Sweep as well and zipped right through it.

Nan Sparrow is a chimney sweep that was raised by an old chimney sweep (father figure) in a very unconventional way.  When the old chimney sweep leaves, Nan is forced to take up work with another sweeping crew.  The only momento Nan has from her old chimney sweep father-figure is a piece of coal that never gets cold.  When Nan is trapped in a chimney fire she finds out that the piece of coal is much more than she expected.

I loved the setting and characters in this book.  I also really enjoyed the “monster” that emerges from the coal.  Reading about the struggles that Nan and friends go through was also engagin.  The book was perfectly paced, fun to read, and very well written.  I learned a ton about chimney sweeps in historical London that I didn’t know about before. 

Overall this was a spectacular book that I really enjoyed.  So far, I have enjoyed everything I had read by Auxier which makes me want to go and pick up the few books of his that I haven’t read yet.  Anyway, I would recommend to those who enjoy middle grade historical fiction with a touch of magical realism.
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Jonathan Auxier is a master world builder!  I so drawn in that I can't put them down. I LOVE reading his books. Sweep did not disappoint!
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Excellent historical fantasy fiction. Vivid portrait of child laborers in Victorian England with just a touch of fantasy. The characters felt genuine. Nan is a great lead, and Charlie is as charming as can be. The pacing can be slower at times, but it allows the reader to really absorb the setting and connect to the characters. Ultimately this heartbreaking yet hopeful story is an easy recommendation to fiction fans.
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