Read Ashes to Asheville by Sarah Dooley Online


Two sisters take off on a wild road trip in this poignant tale for fans of Counting by 7s and Fish in a TreeAfter Mama Lacy's death, Fella was forced to move in with her grandmother, Mrs. Madison. The move brought Fella all sorts of comforts she wasn't used to at home, but it also meant saying goodbye to her sister Zoey (a.k.a. Zany) and her other mother, Mama Shannon. ThoTwo sisters take off on a wild road trip in this poignant tale for fans of Counting by 7s and Fish in a TreeAfter Mama Lacy's death, Fella was forced to move in with her grandmother, Mrs. Madison. The move brought Fella all sorts of comforts she wasn't used to at home, but it also meant saying goodbye to her sister Zoey (a.k.a. Zany) and her other mother, Mama Shannon. Though Mama Shannon fought hard to keep Fella, it was no use. The marriage act is still a few years away and the courts thought Fella would be better off with a blood relation. Already heartbroken, Fella soon finds herself alone in Mrs. Madison's house, grieving both the death of her mother and the loss of her entire family. Then one night, Zany shows up at Mrs. Madison's house determined to fulfill Mama Lacy's dying wish: to have her ashes spread over the lawn of the last place they were all happy as a family. Of course, this means stealing Mama Lacy's ashes and driving hundreds of miles in the middle of night to Asheville, North Carolina. Their adventure takes one disastrous turn after another, but their impulsive journey helps them rediscover the bonds that truly make them sisters. A heartrending story of family torn apart and put back together again, Ashes to Asheville is an important, timely tale....

Title : Ashes to Asheville
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780399165047
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Ashes to Asheville Reviews

  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    2018-11-21 23:56

    “People are all the time expecting me to understand things I can't get my brain around. Like how to be brave, or how to find the right words to say what's on my mind. Like how to accept somebody could die and be gone when I wasn't finished loving them yet.”Ashes to Asheville is the most emotionally destructive children's book I've read in my life. I sobbed all through the last chapter. What engaging characters and what real emotions. I really don't think this is a book you can meaningfully review; it's a book you have to experience. All I can say is that Ashes to Asheville is about the complexities of family. Our protagonist is living with her grandmother after one of her mothers has died. Her sister is living with her other mother. Each feels they have a claim on her, yet each truly do love her. Okay, it's an interesting premise and has a lot of potential. But honestly, this book succeeds mostly in the field of making you fucking cry. This book is written gorgeously. Emotion drips from every page. Every character feels real and genuine. Truly, though, this book succeeds the most through its themes of family and mourning. This story is so sad and yet so true to life, so real, so necessary. My one complaint might be the slowness of the plot. Conflict towards the beginning feels manufactured and often doesn't ring true, until we reach the ending. However, this was completely remedied by the perfectly hopeful ending. VERDICT: With a cry-worthy yet hopeful message, this book will work for YA, MG, and adult readers alike. I can't recommend this enough.

  • Alana
    2018-12-08 20:52

    For fans of Kate DiCamillo--so, not me.

  • Mary Louise Sanchez
    2018-11-29 20:49

    When twelve-year-old Ophelia's mother Mama Lacy dies of cancer, Ophelia (a.k.a Fella) is torn from her other mother, Mama Shannon, and her sister, Zoey (Zany) to live with Fella's grandmother, Mrs. Madison, because the courts don't recognize same sex marriage.Then Zany shows up at Mrs. Madison's house late at night and gets Fella to help her take Mama Lacey's urn, containing her ashes from the mantel. The plan is Zany will drive Mama Shannon's car to Asheville, North Carolina and the girls will spread Mama Lacey's ashes over the last place the family was happy together, and be back by morning before anyone discovers they and the urn are missing. The two sisters embark on the adventure of their lives which involves kidnapping Mrs. Madison's yipping poodle; getting robbed of the urn; befriending the robber; robbing the robber of his truck; driving perilous icy, mountainous roads; all the while, bonding as sisters.The story makes one think about what makes a family.

  • Jan
    2018-11-30 15:35

    I loved, loved, loved this book. I couldn't put it down and read it all in one sitting today. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and then it found a way to crawl inside my heart and wrap around it. The story and the characters are going to stay there for a long time.

  • Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
    2018-11-15 22:44

    This novel of the recent past perfectly captures the realities of being loved and raised by same-sex parents . . . and what happens when one of them is no longer around to love and raise them.

  • Cathy
    2018-11-26 19:43

    A beautifully-written MG novel that makes you laugh on one page and then reach for a Kleenex on the next as 12-year-old Ophelia and her older sister embark on an adventure-filled road trip, determined to honor the wishes of their late mother. Looking forward to book-talking this one to my students.

  • Brenda Kahn
    2018-11-26 21:50

    Sob! Hand this to your readers who love sad books! The writing is gorgeous! So beautiful that I wasn't pulled out of the story by the few plot contrivances that I didn't stop to mark because I wanted to find out what happened! The book takes place in 24 hours. I read it in one big gulp. Love Sarah Dooley.

  • Amy Dreger
    2018-12-04 19:39

    It seems like almost every middle grade book I pick up these days features a child mourning the loss of a dead parent. I'm a children's librarian and sometimes these sad books are hard sells to the audience they are actually intended for. This book is no exception. I think it is a wonderful story but it is so sad. Fella, the narrator, is coming to terms with the recent death of her mother, Mama Lacy, to pancreatic cancer. Fella has two moms, and her non-biological mother, Mama Shannon, also has a daughter, Zany. After Fella's mother's death, the courts force her to move in with her biological grandmother, rather than stay with Mama Shannon. Zany, who is 16, comes to Fella's house late one night to take Mama Lacy's ashes to Asheville, North Carolina where she plans to scatter them as Mama Lacey requested. Fella goes along for the ride and the two encounter many setbacks in their 24-hour road trip.This book takes place in 2004 when gay marriage was not legal in all 50 states. This is a crucial element to the story - if the book took place today, Fella would not likely have been forced to move out of Mama Shannon's home and move in with her biological grandmother whom she barely knows. I think setting this book in the not so distant past might be confusing for young readers. That was perhaps my biggest complaint with the story. I don't think most children understand the legalities of gay marriage. However, this could be a good book to spur discussion on the topic.The only other issue I had with this book is that Fella and Zany take a ride from a stranger in a desperate attempt to get to their destination. I've seen this come up in several books lately and I think it sends a horrible message to kids . . .but I am a parent and am hyper aware of these things. This particular stranger steals from Zany and Fella but they hop into his truck anyways. Overall I really did enjoy this book. I thought the characters were very well-developed and I liked the relationship between the two sisters - they would bicker like any normal siblings and would then get along just fine. You could tell that they truly cared for each other. Dooley does a wonderful job of capturing the pain of loss from each character's perspective and proves to the reader that families can come in all shapes and sizes.

  • Sandy
    2018-12-14 18:32

    4.5 starsI absolutely loved this novel. It was fun, entertaining, captivating and it was delightful. It was a journey that had me turning the pages so fast, it was over before I knew it.It was fun in the way that sixteen-year-old Zany and twelve-year-old Fella took off with Mama Lacy ashes on a mission to fulfill her last wishes by scattering her remains where she wanted to be. Entertaining because this mission involved many people, where they meet a police officer, where Zany drives a semi-truck, where they go shopping filling up a cart to the top and it didn’t cost them anything, where the conversations are endless and I learned a great deal about these young girls and their lives. It was captivating as I couldn’t put this novel down as the opening pages started with Zany snatching Mama Lacy off the mantel and the girls jumping into Mrs. Madison’s car. Haberdashery is making noise out in the yard and they can’t take him back inside for fear that they will wake up Mrs. Madison and blow their cover, so inside the car he goes, they now have a dog along on their trip. There is talk of a Mama Shannon amongst the girls, this woman I don’t know anything about but as the conversation continues I realize that she is Zany’s mother and that she loved Mama Lacy. Mama Lacy was Fella’s mother and she loved Mama Shannon. The four of them used to live under the same roof but that was before cancer took Mama Lacy away and that was before Mrs. Madison took Fella away from her remaining family. I love listening to the girls and their spunky conversation in the car. Fella is hoping that Zany had a plan when she picked today to start off on this trip and she does have a plan, to get the ashes to Asheville but it all the incidentals along the way that cause the glitches for the girls. It was delightful as it was an enjoyable read: it was exciting, it was comical at times and a very interesting read. What a fantastic novel, a good feel book for me. I highly recommend this novel.

  • Whitney
    2018-11-29 00:01

    So good! I sobbed and laughed through the whole thing. Sarah Dooley really captures the voice of her 12 year old narrator. I think I responded to the story so emotionally because it hit so close to home. It is about two sisters with two moms. When one mom dies, her biological daughter is taken away from her other mom and sister and sent to live with her grandmother. The story takes place in West Virginia in the early 2000s before same-sex marriage was legal. It was sort of a "there but for the grace of God go I" feeling. When William was born, I had no more claim to him than someone off the street. The hospital could have prevented me from being in the NICU with him, but we got lucky and they didn't. We were lucky to live in a state where second-parent adoption was legal and we were very lucky to have families who accepted us and our marriage and would fight for our rights. So the story rang so true for me in so many ways. But while I reacted strongly given my own circumstances, the story is really more about two young girls and their process to understand their mother's death. And it's about taking care of the people you love and how complicated life can be with people you love. All in all, a really wonderful tale.

  • Jo Sorrell
    2018-11-18 20:58

    This is quite simply or not so simply, the story of family. All families are different but they all involve heartache and most involve undying love. Such is the case here. This is the story of Two women, Shannon and Lacy who fell in love and wanted to spend their lives together married. This couldn't happen because they are both female. It is 2004 and gay marriages haven't been legalised. So, they "marry" and there are two children, Zaney and Fella. Both are nicknames for Zooey and Ophelia. This is a beautiful happy loving family living in Asheville. Then Lacey is diagnosed with cancer and dies. The family is torn apart for the good of the children. The judge sends Fella to live with her biological grandmother and Zaney goes with her biological mother Shannon. Mama Shannon is understandably very depressed over losing her mate. One night Zaney, now 16, shows up, wakes Fella and they embark on a journey back to their home in Asheville , where they once all happily lived as a family. Lacey would have turned 40 this day and Zaney is on a mission to scatter her ashes in the place she was happiest living with her girls and Mama Shannon. They plan to be back before the sun comes up and no one will know they ever left. Well, you know that didn't happen. Read about the girls harrowing road trip, complicated by the presence of a 12 year old poodle named Haberdashery. I was pulling for them the whole way even though what they were doing was very dangerous. The whole book takes place in 24 hours where you will hold your breath.

  • SusanDunn
    2018-11-28 23:45

    Fella (Ophelia) and her older sister Zany (Zoe Grace) have been separated since their Mama Lacey died of cancer several months ago. Mama Lacey was Fella's biological mom, and their other mother, Mama Shannon, gave birth to Zany. Before Mama Lacey got sick, the family lived happily in Asheville, North Carolina. But once Mama Lacey wasn't able to work any longer, they were forced to return to West Virginia, where it was cheaper to live, and both women had family. After Mama Lacey died, Mama Shannon petitioned the courts for custody of both girls, but it was felt that Fella would be better off with a biological relative. She appreciates the fancy house and good food at her grandmother's, but she misses her sister and her other mother terribly. One night Zany appears at the house, and takes the urn containing Mama Lacey's ashes off of the mantel. Her plan is to drive to Asheville, several hundred miles away, to spread her mother's ashes in the last place they were happy as a family. It sounds like an easy and foolproof plan - but nothing goes as expected... Funny, heartbreaking and timely, the sisters' story - and the author's note - will touch all who discover it.

  • Patricia
    2018-11-23 22:39

    When Fella's mother, Mama Lacy died, Fella could have gone on living with Mama Shannon and her sister Zaney.  But Fella's grandmother Mrs. Madison thinks Fella should live "with her blood." She goes to court, and wins, so Fella lives with Mrs. Madison, and only sees Mama Shannon and Zaney for church.One night, Fella catches Zaney breaking into Mrs. Madison's house.  Zaney's goal?  To steal Mama Lacy's ashes, drive to Asheville to scatter them, and be back before anyone knows she's gone.  Fella comes along, as does Mrs. Madison's dog.The plan to drive hundreds of miles in an old car in the middle of the night without detection falls apart quickly, and this book is full of misadventures.  It's also full of heartbreak, while managing to be quite funny.  Some plot points are convenient, but overall, this book is worth reading for the love, humor and even class issues, as well as LGBTQ custody issues.

  • Kelsey Buckley
    2018-11-26 17:00

    Sisters Fella and Zoey take off on a whirlwind escapade unbeknownst to their Mama Shannon and grandmother, Mrs. Madison. Their mission? To steal Mama Lacey's ashes and fulfill her last request to be scattered in Asheville. Needless to say, they encounter a lot of obstacles on their way.It is a good enough story, but since it all takes place in less than a 24-hour time period, it was a bit more detail-oriented than I needed. I was confused about when this book took place since I originally thought present day until I saw something about the year 1999 and learned it was 2004. When you read the author's note at the end, it all makes more sense. Sometimes I think our country hasn't progressed much, but then I realize that some things have progressed - even if they aren't always at the pace I would prefer. Recommended for middle school readers (with the forewarning that cancer and death are involved).

  • Jan Blazanin
    2018-12-01 20:38

    After Mama Lacy's death, Fella is forced to move in with her grandmother, Mrs. Madison. The move brought Fella comforts she wasn't used to at home, but she had to leave her sister Zoey (a.k.a. Zany) and her other mother, Mama Shannon. Though Mama Shannon fought hard to keep Fella, the marriage act is still a few years away and the courts thought Fella would be better off with a blood relation. Already heartbroken, Fella is alone in Mrs. Madison's house, grieving both the death of her mother and the loss of her family. Then one night, Zany shows up at Mrs. Madison's house and drags Fella on a road trip to fulfill Mama Lacy's dying wish: to have her ashes spread over the lawn of the last place they were all happy as a family. Of course, this means stealing Mama Lacy's ashes and driving hundreds of miles to Asheville, North Carolina. Everything that can go wrong, does, but it's the adventure of a lifetime for them both. Great for young adults who love road trip adventures.

  • Jennifer
    2018-12-11 15:36

    A carefully explored journey of grief, this book starts out road trip and ends up catharsis for anyone who has lost someone they love. Fella narrates her story in a true voice, trying to understand all the changes after one of her Mamas dies, trying to reconcile her old and new families. All the other characters ring true as well, even the dog.My only issues are the cover and the almost too perfect ending. The story takes place during a snow storm so the spring like cover just seems wrong. It is beautiful, though. And while I like that Fella will go help her new friend now and we don't know exactly how life will work for her after this, the easy resolution seems almost overly hopeful. In the end, though, Fella grows and learns from her experience and so do the other characters. The setting feels right and a hard topic is well handled for this age group.

  • Karen
    2018-11-22 22:41

    In a somewhat madcap road trip, two young sisters sneak off in an effort to scatter their mother's ashes in their former home town; they are the children of a devoted lesbian couple, one of whom has tragically died of cancer. Older sister Zany has a driver's license - she plans to drive all through the night and and return home before anyone misses her and younger sister, Fella (who didn't quite understand the plan and left home barefoot and in a bathrobe). Needless to say, their plan goes awry in numerous ways before coming to a somewhat satisfying resolution. I think students will like this one, but as an adult I took issue with many of the unsafe and foolish actions the sisters engage in on their journey, all of which seem to be condoned by the author. Gay marriage issues are dealt with in a realistic way, but almost seemed tangential to the main plot.

  • Crystal
    2018-11-15 21:48

    Reveiw copy: ARC via publisher & library copy post pubThis is definitely a book about family and what that means. Two moms and two sisters go through a tough time. When one of the mother's dies, the family is split because in that time, two mothers could not marry each other and the remaining mother is not granted custody of one of the daughters since she is not a biological mother. The judge gives custody of the youngest daughter to her maternal grandmother. The family members have already suffered the loss of one loved one, and then they must lose another. This is the story of how they begin to heal. Family is not only blood. Families cannot be confined to one specific constellation. There are so many ways to be a family. This story is a heart-breaker, but it is also lovely.

  • Jane
    2018-11-16 16:56

    I needed a book like this. I've been reading lots of non-fiction, some heart wrenching fiction, and this book was tender and filled with the character's heartache...particularly Fella's (Ophelia's) and her sister, Zany's (Zooey Grace's). But mainly it's an adventure, a bit scary at times...although I didn't expect anyone to die. Someone already has, and that's the crux of the plot, which is timely, intimate and very authentic. The theme seems to be: we so often can't say what we need or what we want. True that. I say all the time that books that find us when we need them are gifts. So many books find me, or, okay, I find them, when I'm not prepared. I need something grittier, something deeper, something more frivolous. This book found me at the perfect time, and I absolutely loved it.

  • Krystal
    2018-11-15 23:52

    Road trips often bring clarity in complicated situations. And that ends up being the case for the characters in this book. It's the story of two siblings, Fella and Zany, who steal their recently deceased mother's ashes to spread them where they shared much happiness years earlier, where she ultimately wanted to be forever- Asheville. During their journey from West Virginia, they find humor in a sad situation, lots of excitement (some good, some bad), an unexpected new friendship with another traveler, and in the end, a stronger relationship with their remaining family. Never cloying, this is a genuine, easily relatable book about finding peace with the death of a loved one.

  • Virginia Walter
    2018-11-29 22:33

    Fella and Zany have been raised by two mothers in a happy, loving family. When Mama Lacy dies of cancer, their world changes. Mrs. Madison, Lacy's mother goes to court to claim Fella, while Zany is left with Mama Shannon, her birth mother. The urn with Lacy's ashes sits on the mantle of Mrs. Madison. One night Zany comes to the Madison home and takes the urn. Fella hears her and follows her outside. Zany has taken Mama Shannon's car and plans to drive to Asheville, where they had all been together and happy and scatter Mama Lacy's ashes there, as she had wished. Fella and Mrs. Madison's poodle get in the car, and a road trip begins that changes all of their lives.

  • Watson Wildcats
    2018-12-12 17:47

    Ashes to Asheville is written from the perspective of Fella, a naive 12-year-old girl from Asheville, North Carolina. When Fella was young her mother, Mama Lacy, a whimsical, forgiving woman, passed away, forcing her to move in with her wealthy grandmother, Mrs. Madison. One night her sister, Zany, a crazy, unpredictable, spontaneous teenage girl, unexpectedly shows up at Fella’s home to pick up both her and Mama Lacy’s ashes. You follow them on their journey to Asheville, North Carolina, where Mama Lacy wished for her ashes to be spread.

  • Alyssa
    2018-11-28 16:47

    This book is lovely and heartbreaking and important. I haven't read a MG story that explores queer families in this unique way and I'm so glad this book exists. However, I struggled a little bit through the first half of the book. I'm not sure if I was just not in the right headspace, but I felt like the pacing was off and I struggled with the action. Once I hit the halfway mark I flew through the rest of the book and I really loved it. This is worth picking up and adding to your library collection.

  • Marta Boksenbaum
    2018-12-09 21:59

    A truely excellent book, this story follows Fella, who lives with her grandmother because when her mother Lacy died, her other mother Shannon and not-biological sister Zany have no legal right to custody of her. When teenage Zany steals Mama Lacy's ashes in the middle of the night, Fella follows her along with her Grandmother's dog into an adventurous road trip to scatter the ashes where their mother would want to be. Set in a not so distant past, this book shows what it's like when families don't have the legal right to be together, as well as how grieving can change people.

  • Anne
    2018-12-13 20:41

    This book take place over less than a 24-hour period, but dives back into the past through memory flashbacks. This story is told in the first person by the protagonist, Fella (Ophelia.) She and her sister have been separated by the courts when one of their two parents (both mothers) passed from pancreatic cancer. The two sisters are on a road trip to fulfill that parent's wish and encounter many unexpected obstacles along the way . . . not to mention that neither of them told their other mother or their grandmother where they were headed.

  • Martha Meyer
    2018-11-29 20:02

    This heartfelt and quixotic middle grade novel finds Fella and Zany on their way to Asheville NC in Mama Shannon's car to release their beloved Mama Lacey's ashes. They are grieving more than their mother: since each girl was born to a different mom in an lesbian couple, the (pre-June 2015) law separates them at Lacey's death, so they lost their family, too. Sarah Dooley writes beautifully and sometimes hilariously about grief, finding your voice and empathy. Don't miss this book -- a sweet mixture of Thelma and Louise and As I Lay Dying in a middle grade novel just right for summer!

  • Brenda
    2018-11-20 16:33

    Two sisters, and a poodle, set out on a chaotic adventure, complete with sisterly squabbles and many potentially disastrous twists and turns. The sisters are both trying, in their own way, to make sense of the death of one of their two moms. I had read a variety of good reviews of this, but was hesitant because it is another book where the mom dies. But I am glad I went on the journey with them. I felt like I was able to understand from this story how gay marriage laws (or lack thereof) impact a family, both for good or bad.

  • Ells
    2018-11-25 19:00

    Characters to care about, and whose story is slowly revealed during a break-neck paced adventure (at times incredulous--it's February, Zany needs coat and Fella needs shoes for goodness sake!) that resolves satisfyingly, though perhaps too good to be true. An important exploration of what it means to be family and how a same-sex family is inhumanely affected by legal parameters that are a given for straight families. Family is, after all, family.

  • Toni
    2018-11-24 23:00

    Fella is woken up in the middle of the night by her sister, Zany. They head off on a road trip adventure with Mama Lacey's ashes. Nothing ever goes as planned on the trip and it wasn't really planned at all in the first place. I loved the two sisters and how each is reacting to the grief of their family being pulled apart. I did find some of the details a tiny unrealistic and a little bit too coincidental. However, I still enjoyed the ride.

  • Suzy
    2018-12-02 22:45

    Zany and Fella will steal your heart and having it breaking for them. They are on the ultimate road trip to fulfill one of their mother's dying wish of where she wanted her ashes. Along the way they meet some unexpected characters and a lot of crazy things happen. But they also learn more about each other and what it takes to make a family. A good road trip book and a great one on sister dynamics.