Dark as the chimney soot its characters are covered in, Sweep is also filled with heart and hope. Auxier flawlessly weaves in the history of Victorian chimney climbers with the Jewish folklore of golems to create a breathtaking, engrossing, impossible-to-put-down story of a young girl who is clever, brave, and leads the charge for a better life for the orphans of London. Sweep will make you weep, but that is with both joy and sadness. It's worth it.— Tildy
It's been five years since the Sweep disappeared. Orphaned and alone, Nan Sparrow had no other choice but to work for a ruthless chimney sweep named Wilkie Crudd. She spends her days sweeping out chimneys. The job is dangerous and thankless, but with her wits and will, Nan has managed to beat the deadly odds time and time again.
When Nan gets stuck in a chimney fire, she fears the end has come. Instead, she wakes to find herself unharmed in an abandoned attic. And she is not alone. Huddled in the corner is a mysterious creature—a golem—made from soot and ash.
Sweep is the story of a girl and her monster. Together, these two outcasts carve out a new life—saving each other in the process. Lyrically told by one of today's most powerful storytellers, Sweep is a heartrending adventure about the everlasting gifts of friendship and wonder.
About the Author
"Auxier wipes away the grime from a bleak chapter in history, where children were forced to work dangerous jobs that claimed many lives. He questions what makes one a monster and applauds helping others, activism, education, earthly marvels, and the possibility of magic. Nan’s fiery personality will attract readers like moths, and Auxier's unusual blend of mythology and history will keep them transfixed."
"This dazzling, warmhearted novel contemplates selflessness and saving, deep love and what makes a monster."
— Publishers Weekly
"Auxier (The Night Gardener, 2014, etc.) turns his imaginative whimsy and lyrical prose to a real historical horror; while never gratuitous, he does not shy away from the appalling conditions under which children labor, nor does he ignore the sacrifices and struggle to abolish the practice. The inclusion of two (possibly three) Jewish characters suggests the intertwining of anti-Semitism and class exploitation, while references to such authors as William Blake, Daniel Defoe, and Mary Shelley demonstrate how literature could fire imaginations and highlight oppression."
— Kirkus Reviews
"The novel doesn’t inch from the difficulties of life for poor and orphaned children in nineteenth-century London, but its dominant tone is one of warmth . . . This bittersweet coming-of-age tale will leave readers with the notion that even young people can make a difference when they raise their voices about issues they care about."
— The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Weaving together strands of Jewish folklore (Nan calls Charlie a “soot golem”), Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, Shelley’s Frankenstein, the history of child-labor reform, and his own threads of magical realism, Auxier crafts a beautiful, hopeful story out of some ugly realities of nineteenth-century British life."
— Horn Book Magazine
"Jonathan Auxier weaves a magical spell that draws readers right into the stark, gritty streets of Victorian London . . . Readers will be entranced."
— School Library Connection
— School Library Journal