What I Came to Tell You, Tommy Hay's latest book, a children's novel for readers ages nine to ninety, will be released in September from Egmont USA.
What I Came to Tell You
“Tommy Hays has quietly but steadily established himself as one of the South’s finest novelists, and now he has written his best book yet. What I Came to Tell You is a great-hearted novel filled with wisdom and truth. We care, and care deeply, about Hays’ characters as they make their slow, stumbling way from profound grief to the hard-earned acceptance that life can yet be wondrous.” —Ron Rash, author of Serena
Since the death of his mother, twelve-year-old Grover has been having a difficult time. The only thing that brings him solace are the hours he spends working on his “art” in the beloved bamboo grove near his Asheville home. His overworked father belittles his efforts; he feels his son is withdrawing from the world and throwing his time away.
As tensions within and without the family build to a boiling point, help tiptoes its way into their lives. The roughhewn family from the mountains who have moved into the cheap rental nearby force their way into Grover’s forest and heart. Jesse, their prickly independent neighbor, proves to be a stalwart pillar to both Grover’s little sister and him, and even the peculiar young man who always lurks around them plays a role in lifting Grover and his family from their paralyzing grief.Poignant and touching but with bite, What I Came to Tell You introduces a great talent to children’s books.
Advance Praise for What I Came to Tell You
"What I Came to Tell You is as sweet and steely as the best of Southern story-telling, filled with love, loss and heart-warming redemption." —Robert Lipsyte, author of The Contender
"I just finished reading What I Came to Tell You, and the title suddenly resonates with significance. This is a story rich with the troubles of love and grief, family and community, but there's a surprising aura of innocence over all, lifting the novel and its readers into another realm. A rare accomplishment." —Josephine Humphreys, author of Nowhere Else on Earth
"Without the use of dragons, zombies, wizards, or vampires, Tommy Hays has written a page-turning tale starring a true-to-life kid on a true-to-life quest to find solace and forgiveness. Twelve-year-old Grover Johnston’s world is simultaneously dangerous (where copperheads curl in Christmas trees) and hopeful (where life is one long last chance). In What I Came to Tell You, Hays has created a memorable story woven, like young Grover’s bamboo “tapestries,” from alternating strands of sorrow and joy. I loved every true-to-life word of this book." —Allan Wolf, author of The Watch that Ends the Night
"Rich in its sense of place and soul satisfying, What I Came to Tell You is an affecting tale of loss and rebirth and forgiveness that is sure to please readers of Because of Winn-Dixie" —Lauren Baratz-Logsted, author of Little Women and Me
"Like the artistry of Grover's weavings in the bamboo forest, Tommy Hays' What I Came to Tell You captures the heartbeat of a young boy's journey to find his way after a tragic loss in Thomas Wolfe country in Asheville, North Carolina. It's a story of learning to listen with your whole heart and head, one filled with grace, grief, and ultimately, hope, as a broken family weaves itself back together in a dazzling tapestry of love and joy." —Kerry Madden, author of Gentle's Holler
© 2013 — Tommy Hays