Book Review – Pennies from Burger Heaven

WOW!! I don’t even know what to say about this book. It has been a very long time since I picked up a story that immediately gripped me like Pennies From Burger Heaven by Marcy McKay. I couldn’t stop reading. My heart became invested in the story and I anguished with the characters. Here is my review:


Copper Daniels awakens like any normal morning beneath the cemetery’s Warrior Angel. But unlike any normal morning, her mother is not sleeping beside her in her own sleeping bag..

The eleven year old girl is flung into the depths of hell as she searches for her mother. She can’t remember a time when they didn’t live on the streets, but without her mother, she is sure she can’t survive.

She continually remembers what her mother taught her…never trust anyone. But, in the desperate search for Corinne Daniels, she finds that she has to have help. O’Dell who is the cemetery’s groundskeeper’s nephew helps her more than once.

Tommy Tucker, another street kid, joins forces with her when his own father turns up missing.

Copper ‘Penny’ Daniels has a lucky penny with a blue dot beside Mr. Lincoln’s head that a nun gave to her mother years ago. Her mother gave it to Copper and she has carried in her pocket for luck ever since. In a jam, she rubs Mr. Lincoln’s beard and asks for good luck.  When she finds a large amount of money stashed in a hiding place in the Warrior Angel, she knows that her mother was saving up to get them off the streets and to California where the sun always shines. But when she loses the money and her lucky penny, she also loses all  hope.

Attacked by a powerful street gang, she finds that her mother stole from the drug dealer and he gives her 24 hours to get $1,000 to him or else she dies.

The mission, where the street people go for food, offers a glimmer of hope when Mr. Jesus and Miz Jesus, TV show personalities, come to the mission to preach. Miz Jesus gives Copper $100. She has a plan. A few more visits to the mission for chunch (Copper’s name for lunch because they can’t eat until they attend church) and she’ll have the money she needs to pay Diablo back for what her mother stole.

Through the streets of ‘Paradise’, the roughest part of town imaginable, this journey with Copper Daniels is gripping, raw, gritty and real. Marcy McKay did an amazing job of writing this story. It makes me wonder if she had some firsthand knowledge of how life is for street people. Seeing it through the eyes of a child is even more realistic. The nicknames they give each other such as Butt Munch, Corn Dog and Turdmouth are entertaining and bring a bit of humor into a very dark story. This plot takes some unpredictable twists and resolution. I did not know until the very end who was responsible for the ‘Disappeareds’ and it shocked me!

Marcy McKay wove a tale with believable characters, harrowing events and tragedy beyond the normal human grasp. This story lingers long after the last page is read.

Marcy McKay

Marcy McKay is an award-winning short-story author and copywriter, as well as a freelance journalist. Her work has appeared in Writer’s Digest, Accent West, Roots & Wings, The Write Practice, Write to Done, and Positive Writer and Jane Friedman.

For more on Marcy McKay  visit her WEBSITE  **  Twitter  **  FACEBOOK


6 thoughts on “Book Review – Pennies from Burger Heaven

    1. Thanks for stopping in, Sandra. Yes, this book is one that doesn’t let go of you once you pick it up. A great story and told with super talent. This was a debut novel for Marcy McKay. I hope you’ll check it out.


  1. Jan, this story left such a deep impression on me. I read it probably six months ago but the story still grips me. I don’t think anyone can read it and not be changed in some way. Copper’s tragic life could easily be mine and yours . I know I will have more sympathy for the homeless now, especially the children. They have no say over their circumstances. They can only go where their parents take them and often those parents are into drugs or alcohol or worse. It’s a horrible life for anyone. Marcy’s writing style is amazing. She’s such a gifted writer. I can’t wait to read her next work. I know I’ll be first in line to buy it.

    Have a great evening! Love you, sister.


    1. You are absolutely right. Seeing the story through the eyes of a child was so simplistic. I agree that Marcy’s writing style is definitely gifted! Thanks for stopping by! Love you!


  2. What an interesting story and review. The experiences street children have is beyond my comprehension, although I’ve had a few students who were homeless. Thankfully, some do survive and succeed.


    1. I know. I truly got so involved in this story, I felt like I was living it with her. Also, seeing things through the eyes of a child is so simplistic. It was the best book I’ve picked up in a LONG time!


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