I read Donna Everhart's debut "The Education of Dixie Dupree" on Sunday. I won an ARC, but Donna didn't ask me to comment - it was just so good I have to share.
I couldn't put it down. My family were left to fend for themselves while I read! From page 1 Donna sucked me in. Donna's writing flowed beautifully and 11 year old Dixie was an easy character to like/sympathise with. I don't usually read books on such heavy topics (hence why I write cozies *grin*), but through Donna's great storytelling she managed to address a range of issues (including depression and abuse) in a way that was organic to the story, not thrust upon the reader, and deal with them in a forthright way. I didn't find the topics overwhelming which is why I usually avoid them (I don't go near Jodi Picoult for example).
Alabama is completely foreign to me being Down Under and all, but Donna brought it to life. I'm not sure whether it is the southern setting, or the young protag, or the heavy subject matter but when I was reading this it reminded me of "To Kill a Mockingbird". Ironically, a few pages after I thought of TKAM her main character reads it.
For everyone who has pre-ordered, you aren't going to be disappointed.