Sarah with the 2012 Region 1 Junior Olympic Team in Mobile, Alabama.

IRIS MESSENGER (Sarah’s First Novel)
“What’s this? A smart, funny, well-written kids’ novel? With Greek gods in it, yet! What is the world coming to?” – Daniel Pinkwater

“Yay for Sarah Deming’s voice in the world, and yay for the resurrection of every god and goddess we ever needed to believe in.” – Jacqueline Woodson


“The real world holds little charm for young Iris Greenwold.  Frustrated by her overbearing parents, uncaring classmates and sadistic teachers at Erebus Middle School, Iris escapes on flights of imagination — and sometimes gets into trouble as a result.  On Iris’s 12th birthday, an anonymous gift arrives for her: a copy of Bulfinch’s Mythology. Personal notes written in the margins lead Iris to an amazing discovery — the Greek gods and goddesses of antiquity are all living close to her home in suburban Pennsylvania.

Equipped with another gift, a rainbow shawl that instantly transports her anywhere she can imagine, Iris sets out to locate the deities.  She finds Poseidon running a derelict clam shack on the Jersey Shore, Apollo playing a mean jazz saxophone in a nightclub run by Dionysus, and Ares waging war in the courtroom as a sharp-witted lawyer.  Each tells her a story from ancient mythology, providing clues that help her in her quest to find the rest of the immortals and unearth the truth about why she doesn’t fit in with everyone else.  Might she actually be a legendary goddess herself?  In the process, Iris learns valuable lessons about self-confidence and perseverance.

Brooklyn-based Deming, a former Golden Gloves champion, pastry chef and yoga instructor, doesn’t shy away from citing the occasional violence and cruelty of the original Greek myths, yet in her debut novel, she also demonstrates a flair for fanciful situations and surprising narrative turns.  The author’s eye for colorful detail — in one scene, Apollo and Ares haggle over the value of Iris’s mother’s rare jazz LP collection — makes Iris, Messenger not only an entertaining novel, but perhaps even a catalyst to send its readers on their own Iris-like voyages of discovery.” – Steve Smith

On Fighting in Madison Square Garden
On Claressa Shields
On Skydiving
On Selling Vodka
On Etiquette

Photo: Pat Russo