“Amidst all the pain intertwined with beauty, Driew finds his voice and place.”—Edith Wairimu, Readers’ Favorite

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Reviewed By Edith Wairimu for Readers’ Favorite

In the fascinating Kentucky Outback, Driew Qweepie’s world is filled with beauty, tranquility, and incredible ways of experiencing nature. Surrounded by his loyal mates, Cain, Able, and Gulia, Driew gets the opportunity to grow and discover his wild side. With incredible strength, agility, optimism, and charisma, Driew can withstand everything in his life, even the cruelty of Gayle and Payne, his older siblings, except for the heart-breaking condition of his mother, Nieve. The family tries to hold it together, especially Marq, Driew’s father, but even fortitude sometimes has limits. Amidst all the pain intertwined with beauty, Driew finds his voice and place. Remarkably, nature seems to listen to his voice too through his sing-song. G’DAY: Aints by M.W. Adams is a brilliant fusion of real life, amazing culture, and an incredible wild setting.

Every moment contained in G’DAY: Aints by M.W. Adams seems to be magical. The book is set in beautiful scenery which adds to the depth and uniqueness of the story. M.W. Adams does a great job presenting a story filled with simple yet breathtaking moments while still presenting Driew’s real-life situations. The youthful Driew is also very relatable and likable. With his kind, hardworking, and witty nature, he is a powerful key character. Overall, G’DAY: Aints by M.W. Adams is a rewarding and inspiring story. It helped me appreciate beauty and virtue even in the presence of distress. It is the kind of book that sticks with you long after you have read it. Reading it also helped me relive my youthful days and cherish the wonderful—even though simple—moments which surround me.

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“Beautifully written and well worth reading even more than once.”—Melinda Hill, Readers’ Favorite

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Reviewed By Melinda Hill for Readers’ Favorite

The youngest of five siblings, Driew feels like he doesn’t fit into his family in this coming of age story, G’DAY: Aints by Mark Wayne Adams. Now with his mother failing quickly from her Caddywompus, a brain tumor, Driew has lots of feelings and emotions to process while he deals with his sinister and bother (sister and brother) who resent him for being born and go out of their way to make his life difficult. Driew’s best friend is the girl next door, Gulia, who is from Australia. She shares her experiences with the Outback and native traditions, and Adams blends them with small-town life and Dawson Springs history and lore to help Driew find his path. As a result of some special powers, Driew has a connection to nature that is extraordinary; he can ‘sing song’ natural items to make them move or even provide him with light. This phenomenon, along with Driew’s ability to see the Magic Man, convinces Gulia that he needs to take off on a Walkabout, a traditional aboriginal quest to find oneself.

G’DAY: Aints comes directly from the soul of Mark Wayne Adams and connects us all through his characters into the greater world around us. The story represents a beautiful acceptance of life, family, things we can’t control, and, most of all, the ability each of us has within to come to terms with the ups and downs of life. While some characters take longer to evolve than others, just as in real life, the process is shown to be difficult yet fulfilling as Driew tries really hard to accept his siblings and other relatives for who they are—looking at things from their perspective. Beautifully written and well worth reading even more than once for its deep insights and loving advice, G’DAY: Aints works as a stand-alone story even though it is the fifth in the Family Tree series of novels by Mark Wayne Adams. Just like a song line from the Outback, you can pick it up here or there and still appreciate the unique gift within.

“…fascinating and intriguing characters and a thread of humor runs through the plot.”—Mamta Madhavan, Readers’ Favorite

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Reviewed By Mamta Madhavan for Readers’ Favorite

Set against the backdrop of Outback Australia, G’DAY: Aints by M.W. Adams takes readers along with Driew to explore life events and myriad chaotic journeys as he takes them through his story. Driew has secretly vowed to leave the Outback family and wants to heal his family relationships. His mother Nieve’s time is limited because the doctor cannot operate to remove the tumor resting upon her brain. Their home phone rang nonstop ever since Nieve collapsed in the town square. As the book progresses, readers get to see Driew’s progression from boyhood to manhood, and a move from Australia’s Outback to rural western Kentucky, an aint who helps him discover his past and find himself, and Gulia who encourages him to take control over his story and embrace the Magic Man’s purpose.

The story is adventurous and educational to a certain extent as it speaks about fun facts in the Outback and Dawson Springs, Kentucky. It is entertaining not only because of its story line, but also because of the interesting and informative facts the author has woven into it. The many layers in the plot make it a compelling read and readers are introduced to American, Australian, and Qweepie vernacular. Family bonding, the adventurous Outback world, and the Qweepie family moments make the book real and memorable to readers. The story line and the characters are fascinating and intriguing and a thread of humor runs through the plot and characters, making them tangible to readers. The story also stresses the importance of family, roots, and home, which sums up the daily lives of most readers.

“…leads a young man on a journey to become the man he was destined to be.”—Kathryn Bennett, Readers’ Favorite

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Reviewed By Kathryn Bennett for Readers’ Favorite

G’DAY: Aints by Mark Wayne Adams introduces us to Driew and the adventures he finds himself in within the Australian outback. G’day might be the way to say hello in Australia, but for Driew it causes torment in the form of the Qweepie twins and oh so much more. When the girl next door gets involved, things become even more complex for Driew and, in the end, he must make the choice of exploring a love that is starting to blossom and going on a walkabout that traditionally leads a young man on a journey to become the man he was destined to be.

This book stood out to me as something that would be different and interesting to read when I looked at the description. I am happy to say I was right about that in many ways and, in other ways, it is a traditional coming of age story, making this book a great blend of familiar and unfamiliar. Once I got around some of the slang terms, I really got into the book and enjoyed the adventures. I have always been interested in the idea of a walkabout and the mysterious ways of the Aboriginal people of Australia. I feel that author Mark Wayne Adams has given us a peek inside of that mysterious world through the eyes of Driew in this book, and I love that! I don’t want to give away too much of the journey that Driew must take. Like so many of us, choosing between new love or a harder path that we aren’t sure where it will lead, this read is a solid, enjoyable one. It might be a YA story, but as an adult I enjoyed it and I know others will too. It is well written and has a flow to the story that is enjoyable. I didn’t like setting this one down to go and do adult things; I just wanted to read it straight through.

“G’DAY is a truly breathtaking story with a unique style.”—Liz Konkel, Readers’ Favorite

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Reviewed By Liz Konkel for Readers’ Favorite

G’DAY: Aints by Mark Wayne Adams is a stunning coming of age journey following the life of Driew Qweepie. Driew’s life was fairly ordinary, dealing with bullies, siblings that don’t seem to want him around, and growing up. When his mom is diagnosed with a brain tumor, his life is flipped around and it seems like his siblings are keeping secrets from him. His best friends and his Tasmanian Tiger named Dingo are always there when he needs them. He finds solace in the woods and his tree house, using them to bask in the safety net of his childhood. His family doesn’t mention those they’ve lost. He’s never known the names of his grandparents or deceased relatives, but when he finds a family memoir he uncovers surprising family secrets. Gulia is his charming and brazen neighbor who convinces him to follow where the Magic Man leads, on a journey to find the Outback, an Australian song line. The more he learns about his family, the more he finds out about himself and discovers a connection to Gulia that he doesn’t expect.

The structure of G’DAY is an intriguing one that is broken into moments with every moment serving a purpose. Mark Wayne Adams delivers spectacular details with descriptions like “wrecking ball personality” and larger than life characters. Adams has a quirky style that gives a playful quality and a certain lightness to the story. G’DAY has many layers, a story of family, bullying, loss, growing up, friendship, and first love. Driew feels like an outsider with his siblings, but he finds comfort in the relationships he has with his friends and the bond he has with his Tasmanian Tiger. He also finds solace in the country, in books, and in words. He seems to find magic in every aspect of his life, which gives a beauty to Driew’s world.

Driew has a complicated relationship with his family as his siblings often seem to shield him from anything bad while also taking some of their pain out on him. His mother’s health slowly degrades throughout due to a brain tumor and this greatly affects the entire family. G’DAY puts a great deal of focus on childhood and the carefree magic that comes with it, referencing acclaimed novels The Outsiders, Where the Red Fern Grows, and Peter Pan. Driew finds himself captivated by the wonders of the woods, which is where the Magic Man and Australian lore ties into the story. The wonder of it all will pull you into his world. G’DAY is a truly breathtaking story with a unique style, quirky language that finds the magic in words, the memory of the past, and the struggle of life and death.

“Blend of Australian fable and southern culture.”—Sam R. Staley review of “DOWN UNDER”

Down Under: Kussins is the kind of book that will delight early and middle-grade readers and leave parents befuddled, in a good way. The book is the second volume published by the quirky and fun Family Tree Novels by award winning children’s book illustrator M.W. Adams, and follows the very normally abnormal Qweepie family. (No, the family name is not misspelled.)

Driew is the youngest boy in the Qweepie family, and he is constantly tormented by his older “bothers” and “sinisters.” Now that his older sister Killiope is off to boot camp following her high school graduation, older brother Pester has taken up the mantle of chief bully. He combines with other kids in the town of Dawson Springs, Kentucky (a real place) to make Driew’s life miserable.

But the young lad is resilient, and Drew soon finds himself in the company of his Australian friend Guilia and two other boys—Cain and Able—working on the neighbor’s farm. The respite is enough to keep him relatively safe, at least safe enough to develop friendships with other children nearby. But tension and danger escalate as Driew finds his compassion putting himself in vulnerable situations.

As Driew faces each incident and disappointment, he becomes aware of the circuitous and unpredictable turns of life and the mosaic that makes up human nature. What seems clear in one moment is revealed as complicated and knotty in the next. His humility grows, and the reader grows with him. The arrival of a supposedly extinct species of Australian dog seems to arrive just in time to resuscitate his purpose in life.

The Family Tree stories are a rich blend of Australian fable and mythology with the upside of southern culture. Driew’s story is told in “moments,” those events along a “songline” that influence his understanding of life and reveals his path as his life plays out during “dreamtime.” He has already mastered the magical art of sing-song, an ability to summon objects as well as conjure effects such as fire for a torch at critical times.

The quirkiness of the novel is not a gimmick. The odd spellings, unusual references to concepts and myth, and juxtaposition of cultural commentary and Australian myth are intentional. The result is an unusually layered story that engages readers while promoting solid values and understanding of the human condition.

Mark Wayne Adams skill as a storyteller shows through with each turn of the page. He knows his audience, and his deep experience as a writer for young readers allows him to juxtapose wildly divergent storylines in ways that strengthen the tale rather than diffuse its power and focus. He includes enough fantasy and magic to transport young and old readers into new dimensions, to the point the forested acreage of the Qweepie family farm truly seems to be transformed from the Back 40 to the Outback.

Targeted toward a middle-grade audience, Down Under: Kussins is appropriate for any reader who has advanced to chapter books. Adults will likely stumble over of the strange spellings and unfamiliar references, but children will delight in the novelty, magic and fantasy of the story and characters. Mark Wayne Adams fresh approach to the series may well end up igniting an interest in the land Down Under for an entirely new generation.

Sam R. Staley, author of The Pirate of Panther Bay

“A great story about discovering the world around us.”—Ryan Jordan, Readers’ Favorite

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DOWN UNDER: Kussins by M.W. Adams is the second book in the Family Tree Novel series and is a collection of moments, basically chapters centered around one particular scene in the life of Driew and his family, such as his brother Pester who calls Driew his little bother. Each scene stands alone, but together they make up the life of a young boy in Australia as he meets new people and learns about the world around him. This is a fictional reinterpretation of the life of the author with a lot of clever twists and fun moments that helped bring the stories and volume to life.

I liked the way in which each chapter could stand completely on its own, and the titling of each as ‘moments’ worked really well. Each was a moment in time unto itself, and the self-contained nature inside of the wider theme of the story did a lot to make it interesting. I think my favorite moment was “Hunter” because it had a little bit of everything. There is also a smattering of strange vernacular that I didn’t recognize, and I found the glossary to be tremendously helpful in learning new words or different uses of things I’ve seen before. I think that there is enough fun and educational information in this work to entertain any children, and even adults could easily find quite a few things to love about it. Down Under: Kussins by Mark Wayne Adams is a great story about discovering the world around us by looking at small snippets in time.

“A well-crafted work that reads like poetry.” —Ruffina Oserio, Readers’ Favorite

down-under-kussins-3d-book-cover-9781596160385-www-mwa-company-72dpiReviewed By Ruffina Oserio for Readers’ Favorite

DOWN UNDER: Kussins by M.W. Adams is a family tree novel for young readers, a well-crafted work that reads like poetry, featuring very good and believable characters and a plot that will undoubtedly have readers turning the pages. The main character, Driew, is not an ordinary kid, and of course his parents think it is useless leaving him with a cellphone. From the very first page, readers are pulled into the world of the protagonist, a world that rhymes with a lot of tension and activities and danger. Very early in the story, the reader understands that Driew already has a huge problem dealing with his one sibling: “I don’t want to live another tortuous year as Pester’s little brother. Can’t Pester resolve his issues to become a loving brother?” The reader is pulled into the dynamics of family life and conflicts, but the adventure of Driew is what will take their breath away. Follow him down the hazardous path under.

The writing is like nothing I have read before, an original voice and a turn of phrase that has its unique signature. M.W. Adams has a bubbling imagination that comes out powerfully in the morphology of his writing, the cast of characters, and the compelling plot. The plot is fast-paced with a lot of drama and powerful scenes to pull the reader in. I read the entire story within twenty-four hours and enjoyed the plot lines, the characters, and the themes that center on the family. Down Under: Kussins is fun and entertaining.

“I was captivated by the mood and magic that pervades.” —Jack Mangus, Readers’ Favorite

OUTBACK 3D-book-72DPI-RGBReviewed By Jack Mangus for Readers’ Favorite

Outback: Bothers and Sinisters is a young adult coming of age novel written by Mark Wayne Adams. After unsuccessfully listing their inherited property for sale for ten years now, the Qweepie family has reluctantly moved back to Marq Qweepie’s family farm in Dawson Springs, Kentucky. It’s a big change from the suburban sprawl of sunny Florida for Driew and his ‘bothers and sinisters.’ Driew is the baby in the family, and he’s smaller than the average 11-year-old and darker than the rest of his siblings. He’s been the brunt of their practical jokes and pranks for years now, so being hung up as the farm’s scarecrow, and left there hanging as his siblings go back home, is nothing new for him. Something special happens, however, during this unpleasant and humiliating experience. He’s rescued by a gangling and oddly spoken girl named Gulia. Her relatives are Australian, and she tells him how she and her mom go back there to visit her grandparents several times a year. Together, Gulia and Driew explore their own personal outback there in the Kentucky wilderness; a place where Driew is safe from the teasing and pranks of his siblings, and where he can feel a little bit of magic in the air.

Mark Wayne Adams’ young adult coming of age novel, Outback: Bothers and Sinisters, is a book to be read slowly and savored. I was captivated by the mood and magic that pervades this most unusual coming of age story and filled with no little regret when I finally came to the last page. Driew is one of the most unforgettable characters I’ve come across in some years and being present as he comes of age and finds out where he belongs was a rare privilege indeed. I loved experiencing Kentucky’s seasonal changes through his eyes, and especially enjoyed the detailed descriptions of how he makes the deer stand into his own place. While this book is geared towards the young adult audience, preteens and young-at-heart adults will most likely find themselves as enchanted by Driew, his parents and Gulia as I was. Outback: Bothers and Sinisters is most highly recommended.