Cadow’s debut novel portrays a challenging coming-of-age in rural Vermont with warmth, humor, and insight. Ian observes the turmoil that surrounds him with bewilderment and deadpan humor. . . . Cadow captures Ian’s engaging naïveté, which is tempered by a survivor’s unflappability and a blossoming sense of irony. . . . A heartfelt novel about the challenges of youth and the value of community.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Cadow’s first novel is, in a word, superb. The wonderfully empathic characters are fully realized, their reality enhanced by numerous flashbacks that provide context and dimensionality. The Vermont setting is deeply evocative, as is Ian’s memorable voice, through which the captivating story is told. Arguably one of the finest novels of the year.
—Booklist (starred review)
Full of sensory images and descriptive notes. . . a great ride. . . . The ground constantly shifts in this extraordinary keyhole view of addiction and its ongoing aftermath; Cadow takes his time, but delivers a realistic and compelling novel.
—School Library Journal
Ian’s genuine first-person narration—enriched by his penchant for pithy metaphors and similes—unveils a protagonist whose innate sense of justice and tentatively hopeful perspective buoy Cadow’s sober debut.
is a stunning debut by Kenneth M. Cadow. . . . Anyone who has endured what it’s like to witness someone they love recover from addiction, struggled to afford necessities, or relied on public programs like school lunches will find themselves nodding in agreement as they absorb the words from each page. . . Cadow masterfully describes difficult experiences through melodic language I’ll be thinking about for a very long time. Having grown up in a low-income household, I couldn’t help but think of how much I would’ve appreciated this novel when I was in high school. I’m still grateful I have it now.
This wandering but moving story of Ian's path to adulthood is full of humor and heart.
—The Star Tribune
This book, Gather, feels like one that will stay with me forever. . . seeing this depiction of extreme poverty, this depiction of parental neglect and an utter lack of resources is important. It’s a story familiar to far too many kids. And it’s a story that we adults, especially in education, need to remember. . . This well-written, moving story is one that will stick with me for a long time.
—Teen Librarian Toolbox, an SLJ Blog
There's a well-known belief in the world of education that books can act as mirrors that reflect a reader's own life and as windows that allow a peek into the lives of others. Gather
is well positioned to be both.
I loved Gather
. The voice is fantastic. It is a wonderful novel by a wonderful writer.
—Kevin Brooks, author of The Bunker Diary and Born Scared