Republic of Dirt

Susan Juby's young adult novel is about a group of farmhands trying to keep a farm running.

Susan Juby

Prudence Burns is an overly idealistic Brooklyn girl who has inherited a derelict plot of land named Woefield Farm. Her motley crew of farm hands consists of Earl, an elderly, reclusive bluegrass legend; Seth, an agoraphobic heavy-metal blogger in early recovery from alcoholism; and Sara, an 11-year-old girl with a flock of elite show poultry.

When Prudence is felled by a thyroid condition, things on the farm begin to fall apart, resulting in valiant and sometimes ill-advised attempts to restore domestic bliss. Efforts are complicated by a renegade mule, attempts to turn a hideously ugly child's playhouse into a high-yield roadside farm stand, and an electrical station's worth of crossed wires. Will Prudence get well? Will Seth finally get rid of his pesky virginity? Will Earl rescue Sara? And will anyone ever admit they might be wrong? (From Harper Perennial)

Read an excerpt | Author interviews

From the book

When Prudence fell over I wonder if she might have hit her head. She said she fell because she was so busy but that can't be right, because then she'd probably fall over about twelve times a day. Prudence is a very busy person. Also, she said mule lessons should be held in the evening and it WAS the evening. I mean, it was nearly five and that's not afternoon anymore — at least I don't think it is.

I was disappointed that the lesson didn't go better. No one around here can lead anyone and I think that's a problem. I have special leadership training from Jr. Poultry Fancier's Club and even I can't make people follow me.

From Republic of Dirt by Susan Juby @2015. Published by HarperCollins Canada.

Author interviews

Novelist Susan Juby talks about three of her favourite books in the genre.