Dog Gone

Cynthia Chapman Willis

Square Fish

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    I never understood this before, but these days I hardly get through breakfast without thinking about running, like Dead End, from the think and sticky sadness that stains every inch of our home.
    “Dead End does have a mind of his own,” Cub says low.
    “That doesn’t make him a bad dog,” I snap. “Maybe it makes him a smart dog.”

Twelve-year-old Dill is desperately trying to keep her family from falling apart. Her father is always at work, her mother is gone, and their dog, Dead End, seems to be here one moment and missing the next. And big trouble is brewing. A wild pack of dogs is destroying local livestock and property, and the sheriff has ordered them to be shot. Is this where Dead End has been disappearing to? How far will Dill and her best friend Cub go to uncover the truth, and hold together the last strands of a family that seems to be unraveling?

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Dead End starts pulling again, yanking at my wrist. Mom had known. Right after Lyon and I made our deal, she’d taken the pooch to obedience classes, had transformed him into a good dog that didn’t run off. Everyone but Mom saw this as a flat out miracle, but her sixth sense about animals had told her that he’d become a devoted pet. And he had. Devoted to her, mostly.      That’s why, it seems to me, he’s started running again: because she’s gone. Our once warm and full home is cold and hollow, with sadness collecting like dust.

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Cynthia Chapman Willis on her book, Dog Gone

Author Cynthia Chapman Willis introduces her pets and her debut novel, Dog Gone.

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Praise for Dog Gone

“I couldn’t put this down. More than a dog story, this is a many-layered tale of loss and grief, hope and triumph.”—Ann M. Martin, Newbery Honor winner and author of A Dog’s Life

“Along with the emotional content comes the mystery of Dead End, with tension that continues to rise as Dill tries to determine if her dog is a killer, and, if so, how to save him.”—Booklist

“Set on a Southern farm, the author peppers her story with homey turns of phrases and strong secondary characters . . . Willis, an author to watch, keeps the narrative tightly focused on Dill and her resistance to facing her grief. This well-told story, spiced with humor and facts on animal care, has a satisfying, appealing conclusion.”—Kirkus Reviews

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About the Author

Cynthia Chapman Willis

Cynthia Chapman Willis is an editor for an educational book publisher in New York City. She wrote Dog Gone, her first novel, mostly in a café, and worked on revisions while commuting on the train. She lives in New Jersey with her family. Coming in Fall 2009 for Feiwel and Friends is Buck Fever.

Cynthia Chapman Willis


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Available Formats and Book Details

Dog Gone
Cynthia Chapman Willis

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Square Fish
April 2009
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312561130
ISBN10: 031256113X
Middle-Grade Fiction
5 3/16 x 7 5/8 inches, 240 pages
Age Range: 8 to 12
Grade Range: 3 to 7 Information for Librarians

Information for Librarians

Lexile: 800LL
F&P Level A-Z: T
AR Quiz Number: 115324
AR Book Level: 5.3
AR Points: 2


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Square Fish

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