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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

GIVEAWAY & GUEST POST: The Summer of Broken Things by Margaret Peterson Haddix!

A quick note: joining us today is Margaret Peterson Haddix, one of the few (there were a grand total of 2) authors my non-reading sister has ever enthusiastically read and pushed on me. In addition to this guest post and giveaway, Margaret will be hosting a Twitter Takeover on @YoungEntMag on April 23rd, from 7-9pm ET. Margaret will be discussing some of her “firsts” and answering reader questions about her books, so make sure to stop by and check it out!

Welcome to Day #2 of The Summer of Broken Things Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of The Summer of Broken Things on April 10th, blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Margaret Peterson Haddix and 10 chances to win a copy of the book! 

Atocha Memorial

My daughter and I were lost.

We were holding a map of Madrid in our hands, and we knew both the name of the street we were on and the nearest intersection. So our problem wasn’t exactly that we were geographically lost, but that the landmark we expected to see before us—a memorial to the victims of train bombings in 2004—was nowhere in sight.

So maybe the problem was that the memorial was lost?

It was the hottest day of our August 2015 trip to Spain for me to do research for my book, THE SUMMER OF BROKEN THINGS. The two of us were already sweaty and thirsty and exhausted from hours of walking around looking at other sites I intended to use in the book. 

“Maybe the map’s just a little off, and it’s actually in the next block,” I suggested.

“If we ever find this place and then your editor makes you cut that scene from your book, I’m going to be so mad,” my daughter groused.

And… that made me give up. Because I didn’t know for sure if I was going to mention the Atocha train station memorial (also known as the 11-M Memorial) in my book. I wasn’t entirely certain which of the sites we’d visited would find their way into the first draft of the book, let alone stay around for the final version. That’s the nature of research trips, at least the way I do them—I never entirely know what’s going to be important, so I try to see and do as much as I can.

But that afternoon I decided it was time to be kind to my daughter and go get something cold to drink instead of continuing our search. She was along as my combination tour guide and translator, since her Spanish skills are far superior to mine and she’d actually spent a semester studying in Spain only a year and a half before. And amazingly--given the pace of our trip and our jet lag and all the other things that can go wrong during travel--we really only had that one moment of grouchiness with each other.

That evening back in our (air-conditioned) Airbnb apartment, I doubled down on my internet research, and re-convinced myself that the Atocha memorial could end up playing a vital role in my book. And the next morning, better rested and less grumpy, we walked right to it.

The secret was that it was mostly underground, which I saw as a perfect metaphor for both grief and the underlying problems my main characters, Avery and Kayla, have in THE SUMMER OF BROKEN THINGS. The only way to get into the memorial is to first walk through the train station. And I really do not blame the people who run the train station for not having a lot of signs directing visitors to the memorial—I took several trains in and out of Atocha station myself that week, and I didn’t want to be reminded every time that it had been the site of a terrorist bombing killing 191 people not that long ago.

But I found myself in awe of the memorial itself. In one sense, it is only a dark, empty room, sealed off from the rest of the train station by thick, mostly soundproof glass that makes the ordinary scene outside seem surreal. Isolated in that room, I wondered if that’s what it might feel like to be a ghost, to hover near the living but not be able to reach or speak to them. 

The main light in that memorial comes from above, from a funnel of words on translucent plastic. The words are the expressions of grief in multiple languages that flowed into Madrid after the bombing. They make a twisting spiral of sorrow and condolences, woe and comfort.

The morning we were there, my daughter and I had the memorial to ourselves; nobody else visited. I wondered if that was a sign that, after more than a decade, the grieving survivors of those who died in the 11-M bombing have less of a need for the memorial.

But the room’s stillness and condolences might still serve as a beacon for others who are lost or in pain.

And s of course I ended up placing the Atocha memorial in my book. It becomes an important place for Kayla at a time when she’s also lost and struggling and in need of comfort. And then eventually Avery finds solace there, too.

Some lost places are worth searching for.


Blog Tour Schedule:

April 16th — BookhoundsYA

April 17th — The Book Rat

April 18th — Book Briefs

April 19thParajunkee

April 20th — A Dream Within a Dream

April 23rd — Crossroad Reviews

April 24th — I Am a Reader

April 25th — Page Turners

April 26th — Once Upon a Twilight

April 27th — Tales of the Ravenous Reader

Follow Margaret: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

From New York Times bestselling author Margaret Peterson Haddix comes a haunting novel about friendship and what it really means to be a family in the face of lies and betrayal.

Fourteen-year-old Avery Armisted is athletic, rich, and pretty. Sixteen-year-old Kayla Butts is known as “butt-girl” at school. The two girls were friends as little kids, but that’s ancient history now. So it’s a huge surprise when Avery’s father offers to bring Kayla along on a summer trip to Spain. Avery is horrified that her father thinks he can choose her friends—and make her miss soccer camp. Kayla struggles just to imagine leaving the confines of her small town.

But in Spain, the two uncover a secret their families had hidden from both of them their entire lives. Maybe the girls can put aside their differences and work through it together. Or maybe the lies and betrayal will only push them—and their families—farther apart.

Margaret Peterson Haddix weaves together two completely separate lives in this engaging novel that explores what it really means to be a family—and what to do when it’s all falling apart.

About the Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix is the author of many critically and popularly acclaimed YA and middle grade novels, including the Children of Exile series, The Missing series, the Under Their Skin series, and the Shadow Children series. A graduate of Miami University (of Ohio), she worked for several years as a reporter for The Indianapolis News. She also taught at the Danville (Illinois) Area Community College. She lives with her family in Columbus, Ohio.


  • One (1) winner will receive a finished copy of The Summer of Broken Things
  • US only
  • Fill out the Rafflecopter to enter
  • Please do not leave any sensitive info (addresses, emails, etc) in the comments!
  • Ends April 24 at 11:59 EST
  • Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I didn't even know this memorial existed. I keep saying, Wow, over and over. How soon I forgot this tragedy in Spain, maybe because new ones happen every day in the world to steal my focus. I love the research this author did for the book.

  2. It sounds like a very unique and memorable memorial!

  3. I own a book by this author, but haven't read it yet. I think this new novel sounds super good.


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