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Pennies from Burger Heaven (Burger Heaven…
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Pennies from Burger Heaven (Burger Heaven #1)

by Marcy McKay

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This was a good tale of a homeless girl whose mother is better than some, not as worse as others, living the street life. Ten year old Copper Daniels is very resourceful when it comes to survival in "Paradise", the ragged, dangerous, violent center of Remington, Texas. When the novel opens, her mother is missing, and Copper builds a support system to help her survive as she searches. The characters are very well written and pretty believable. There's some magical realism that's a bit iffy, and a few coincidences that are a bit much, but I'm looking forward to the second book of a trilogy. ( )
  froxgirl | Apr 6, 2017 |
Pennies from Burger Heaven by Marcy McKay is the first book in the Burger Heaven Series. It's about eleven year old Copper Daniels. She and her mother are homeless, but she feels life is good until her mom comes up missing. This book was so well written, and Copper is such an alive character that I just couldn't put this book down. It is so full of mystery and intrigue that it is one book not to be missed. I won this book in a book giveaway, and all opinions are my own. ( )
  feeroberts64 | Nov 3, 2016 |
A very well written novel. Hard to digest the atrocities that poor Copper went through her 12 years of life. Her mother taught her how to survive, but when her mother goes missing, the skills really shine. I felt sorry for the people who tried to help Copper, but I guess living on the streets, her mothers motto of only trusting herself proved true. ( )
  wndy2011 | Apr 14, 2016 |
FICTION (COMING OF AGE)
Marcy McKay
Pennies from Burger Heaven
SkipJack Publishing
Paperback, 978-1-939889-33-1 (also available as an e-book), 340 pgs., $12.99
December 18, 2015

Copper Daniels, a brash and scrappy eleven-year-old girl, and her mother, Corrine, are homeless. They sleep beneath a statue of an angel in a cemetery in the fictional Texas city of Remington. One morning Copper awakes alone. Corrine is missing and Copper, terrified that a her mother is one of the “Disappeareds,” the latest victim of a serial killer stalking the “Nobodies” of Remington, sets out to find her. Copper searches for clues to her mother’s disappearance while dodging pimps, junkies, the police, televangelists, and gangbangers who are also looking for Corrine. Copper, prickly and paranoid, must learn to trust someone besides herself, accept help, and be a better friend if she’s to survive the hunt.

Pennies from Burger Heaven, Marcy McKay’s first novel and the first in a planned series, won the Writers’ League of Texas Best Mainstream Novel manuscript contest in 2015. This is an almost unrelievedly grim and painful story. The relationship between Copper and her mother is not a proper one of parent and child. “We’re way more than mother and daughter,” Copper says proudly. “We’re business partners and best friends.” They panhandle for cash on street corners, and when that proves insufficient to support her mother’s meth addiction, Copper hides under the bed in by-the-hour motel rooms while Corrine earns more money on top of the bed.

Copper narrates Pennies from Burger Heaven. An extraordinarily bleak first-person narrative told from the point of view of a young child is a difficult technique that, in this case, seesaws between poignancy and cognitive dissonance. As children will, Copper blames herself for her mother’s troubles, but she is also conflicted as she realizes her mother’s betrayals. Copper’s inner monologue reflects the incomplete understanding and assumptions of a child attempting to compensate for the failures of the adults charged with protecting her and to rationalize her mother’s motives and actions as she discovers each additional lie.

McKay’s plot is intricate and twisty, if overloaded with lurid elements and near-constant violence, and the action, with a touch of the supernatural, proceeds at breakneck pace. McKay is exceptionally skilled at characterization and atmosphere. The Remington ghetto is crowded with disparate, colorful personalities with nicknames like “Turdmouth” and “Corn Dog,” not all of whom are completely insane. The streets are cold and grimy, lined with pawn shops, liquor stores, and clinics that will buy your blood if it’s clean. The ugliness of the landscape and narrative is infrequently relieved by Copper’s humor. She tells the stories of some of the people buried in the cemetery where she and her mother sleep, such as Ronald Freedmont, whose wife “comes here every week to yell at him.”

Unfortunately, as happens too often today, poor copyediting and inattention to detail distract from the finer elements of Pennies from Burger Heaven.

Originally published in Lone Star Literary Life. ( )
  TexasBookLover | Mar 14, 2016 |
Copper Daniels is just eleven years old and living on the streets with her mom. Everyday is a struggle to eat and survive. They try to find places to get free food and a place to sleep, but it seems to be getting harder to do. Copper is a very tough young girl with grit and determination. When her mom turns up missing , Copper must depend on the few friends she has to find shelter and help her look for her mom.

I found it very intriguing to read the different names the author uses for the groups of people Copper has contact with. It was a bit hard to understand at first , then I realized this is part of a language that Copper uses on the street to identify different people. It was somewhat slang terms that are often referred to as stereo typical , which for some could be found offensive. She must now try to solve the mystery of her mom's disappearance and try to stay one step ahead of someone who is out to hurt her.

The story is written with such realism that you can visualize Copper walking the streets at night looking for shelter. The author holds nothing make and I found myself so engrossed in the story, I couldn't put it down. There are times in the book that the vivid details were hard to read, but I appreciate the darkness and evils that plagued Copper as she raced to save her mom.

The book is a heart pounding story of Copper as she relies on street smarts to survive in a world where she is abandoned by those she thought would never leave her. The ending is powerful and reminds me of good vs evil as the story leaves you in the edge of your seat.

I received a copy of this book from Lone Star Book Blog Tours for an honest review. ( )
  Harley0326 | Feb 1, 2016 |
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