• US Edition

The Impossible Destiny of Cutie Grackle

Part outdoor survival adventure, part fantastical quest, this middle grade novel is a journey of hope, heart, and a willingness to believe in the impossible.

Do you believe in impossible things? Cutie Grackle does. She has to. Otherwise, she’ll never be more than a lonely 10 year old in a cursed family.

Cutie Grackle is used to being different—she lives alone on a mountain with her feeble-minded uncle, and when she’s not sucking pebbles to trick her stomach into feeling full, she’s chatting with a weathered garden gnome for company. But having a flock of ravens follow you is more than just different. Cutie worries the birds are connected to the curse Uncle Horace tends to mutter about. And she’s right.

The ravens present her with a fortune from a cookie, and when she touches it she’s pulled into a vision from her family’s past. It involves the curse and her long-lost mother. The birds offer up a series of objects, each imbued with memories that eventually reveal Cutie must do what her mother could not: break the curse.

Praise for The Impossible Destiny of Cutie Grackle:

“A compelling hybrid tale of realistic survival and supernatural adventure; fans of Kate DiCamillo will enjoy the style of writing in this unique middle grade novel.”School Library Journal

“Told primarily through Cutie’s unsparing point of view (with occasional asides from the ravens) and fully at home in its Appalachian setting, the novel treats poverty, loss, and the magical with matter-of-fact acceptance. . . . An intriguing story from an author who deserves more acclaim.”Kirkus Reviews

“Navigating sensitive topics like unequal food access, disabilities, and the loss of one’s parents, the approachable adventure novel The Impossible Destiny of Cutie Grackle conveys empathy for both people and nature.”Foreword Reviews

“Cutie is a practical and intuitive narrator, picking up on clues the ravens leave her and making astute observations about her life in poverty and the factors that keep her there. Stout depicts the tumultuous circumstances of Cutie’s life sensitively. . . .”The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

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The Author

Shawn Stout

Shawn Stout’s (she/her) delightful Penelope Crumb rivals Ramona, Clementine and Judy Moody! As well as the PENELOPE CRUMB series, Shawn’s also the author of the FIONA FINKELSTEIN mini-series and the standalone novel, A TINY PIECE OF SKY.

She earned an MFA in Writing for Children at Vermont College of the Fine Arts in 2009 and lives in Frederick, Maryland with her husband and two dogs.


Shawn is represented by Kristin Ostby.

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