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Mary Ann Alice

by Brian Doyle

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girls & women, love & romance
list price: $9.95
also available: eBook
published: 2003
Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
9 to 13
4 to 8
Reading age:
9 to 13
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  • Commended, Focus Magazine's The "Best 7 Books for April"
  • Winner, Riverbank Review Children's Books w/ Distinction
  • Commended, Horn Book Fanfare Top Ten List
  • Long-listed, Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People
  • Short-listed, Sask. Book Awards - Children's Literature
  • Winner, Leishman Prize
  • Long-listed, Ruth Schwartz Award
  • Winner, IODE National Chapter Award
  • Long-listed, Mr. Christie's Silver Seal Award
  • Short-listed, Governor General's Literary Awards: Text
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Winner of the IODE National Chapter Award, and a Horn Book Fanfare Top Ten List selection

In this brillant and poetic novel, Brian Doyle returns to the Gatineau River near Ottawa, the world of his novels Up to Low and Uncle Ronald.

Mary Ann Alice McCrank was named for the pretty church bell in the steeple of St. Martin's Church in the Martindale. She has the soul of a poet and Mickey McGuire Jr. is in love with her. Mary Ann Alice is passionately interested in many things, especially the geology of her part of the world. Her teacher, the wonderful Patchy Drizzle, shares her passion for rocks and fossils, many of which can be found along the river and in caves under the famous Paugan Falls.

But a new project to dam the river at Low places rocks, fossils, falls as well as many farms in danger. The dam must go ahead. And, as with much technological change, it brings both benefits and tragedies to the community.

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Contributor notes

Brian Doyle is a four-time winner of the Canadian Library Association's Book of the Year for Children Award. His American honors include being selected for the Horn Book's Fanfare List, the ABA "Pick of the Lists" and the New York Public Library's Best Books for the Teen Age. He has also won the NSK Neustadt Prize, the Phoenix Honor Award, and he has been named a finalist for the Hans Christian Anderson Award. He lives in Chelsea, Quebec.

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Editorial Reviews

Doyle, a fearless and exhilarating writer, negotiates the novel's eddies and swirls with unerring control.

— Horn Book

Doyle is clearly in his element, enlivening a slice of regional history with his own tall tales.

— Riverbank Review

...the writing is pretty near perfect, spare and evocative. In Mary Ann Alice, Doyle has created a wonderful hero with an unforgettable voice.

— Quill & Quire, STARRED REVIEW

...an affecting and entertaining story...

— Teacher Magazine

...a most welcome return to familiar territory...It would never be too soon to have more about Mary Ann Alice.

— Globe and Mail

Doyle at his best - which is very good indeed.


The story's a small masterpiece, and Doyle...ranks right up there with the best of Canadian writers - for children or grownups.

— Toronto Star

"Doyle at his best - which is very good indeed." — Horn Book, STARRED REVIEW
"...the writing is pretty near perfect, spare and evocative. In Mary Ann Alice, Doyle has created a wonderful hero with an unforgettable voice." — Quill & Quire, STARRED REVIEW

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