It looks as if Gouster Girl came closer to winning a coveted Ben Franklin Award from the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) than I could have imagined. Many hundreds of books are entered, and here are the comments from two (anonymous) judges about Gouster Girl:
"Although set in the sixties, this young adult novel is timely and extremely relevant in our current society's self-analysis of race, equity and justice...This is a great story, told in an honest, intriguing manner that captures the voice of youth of that time period. I rate this #10 of top ten." (Judge 1)
"Mr. Gumpert can squeeze a good deal of description into his words. I could feel the heat on the sidewalks as protagonist Jeff describes what it is like to be him. I could feel the fear at various times as young Jeff is learning lessons to take him into adulthood. You are a gifted writer, Mr. Gumpert. This was as sad and as gritty a tale as I have ever read." (Judge 2)
It's heartening to receive this kind of sincere commentary. Thanks to the judges who clearly took time to read Gouster Girl.