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Cover for Surprise Lily

Surprise Lily

Sharelle Byars Moranville


List Price: 15.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Ten-year-old Rose's perfect life is upended when her long-absent disaster of a mother turns up. Can she hold her family together as everything unravels?

Growing up on the farm it was always just Rose and grandma, working the land that had been in the Lovell family for generations. She doesn't miss her mother, Iris, a bit.

In fact, when Iris shows up, Rose is furious. But when an ugly argument between her mother and grandmother reveals painful truths about their family history, Rose runs away. . . . And inadvertently discovers her secret little sister, Lily.

Generations of whispered secrets and family dysfunction surface as Rose struggles to reconcile the home and life she loves with the history she never knew-- and to protect Lily at all costs. Even if it means letting Iris into her life.

In alternating chapters, previous generations of Lovell women narrate their experiences on the farm, adding depth and context to this powerful story of complex families and unconditional love. Moranville's captivating prose will keep readers turning the pages as Rose grapples with her changing life and learns the truth about her family-- mothers, daughters, and women who weren't ready to be either.

Praise For Surprise Lily

"This cozy multigenerational saga by the author of 27 Magic Words evocatively explores themes of growing up, mental health, and finding where one fits in a family. . . . Moranville offers her contemporary Midwestern characters complex emotional backgrounds and a richly rendered setting."—Publishers Weekly

"What happens when generations of family are filled with surprising secrets? . . . An affectionate window into Midwestern farm life and families with common threads of struggle."—Kirkus Reviews

"The novel delves into the family secrets, family ties, and the complex realities hidden within family stories and family trees. . . . The narratives of previous generations serve to illuminate aspects of Rose’s story, which is the most immediate, vivid, and poignant."—Booklist
"Moranville draws clear connections between the generations while also presenting their struggles with depression, unhappy marriages, and addiction at an age-appropriate level. The Lovell farm is as much character as setting, and the book does an excellent job of portraying a contemporary rural community. . . .  Moranville has a talent for evocative language"—The Horn Book

"In this story about the challenges a family faces when secrets come to light, Rose struggles to find her own way through the pitfalls of decisions made in the past. Readers are taken on a journey through Rose’s background via a family tree of female relatives that she creates for a school project. Every woman has lived a full life and is a whole person with the flaws to match. Moranville paints wonderfully complete and compelling characters in a richly detailed rural setting."—School Library Journal

"Ultimately, this thoughtful portrait of a family introduces young readers to the challenges of parenting (especially single parenting) and the tension and healing that flow under the surface of every family."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Praise for 27 Magic Words, by Sharelle Byars Moranville:

* "...This character-driven novel does a remarkable job of allowing readers to see the world through Kobi’s eyes . . . This well-honed middle grade title packs a considerable emotional punch and could be just the ticket for a tween dealing with loss. . . . highly recommended" School Library Journal, Starred Review

"Distinctive, well-drawn characters drive the plot and provide their own magical contributions to Kobi’s widening world. Both tragic and uplifting, this winsome tale perfectly depicts some of the many aspects of magic."Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

Holiday House, 9780823442645, 240pp.

Publication Date: October 8, 2019

About the Author

Sharelle Byars Moranville is the author of the author of critically acclaimed middle grade novels Over the River and 27 Magic Words, which received starred reviews in School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews and was a 2017 Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts. She lives in West Des Moines, Iowa.