Out of the Ashes


Short-listed for the 2003 Red Maple Award and Arthur Ellis Award for best Juvenile Book, commended for the 2003 Canadian Children’s Book Centre Our Choice Selection

Shelby Belgarden isn’t exactly thrilled when people start thinking Greg is her boyfriend. After all, she’s more interested in the athletic Nick Jarvis. But one day Greg suddenly becomes more interesting to Shelby – though for all the wrong reasons: Shelby begins to suspect that Greg is responsible for the series of arsons that have occurred in her small New Brunswick town in recent weeks. After finding out that Greg and his father had moved to this town after their old home burnt down – with Greg’s mother inside – Shelby finds Greg’s gasoline-soaked mitten near the scene of the latest arson.

Shelby launches her own investigation into the crimes. As she does, she becomes aware that whoever is responsible may have been a victim of sexual abuse.


Red Maple Award
Arthur Ellis Award for best Juvenile Book
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre Our Choice Selection


Clearly, she [Valerie Sherrard] knows what she is talking about, and in this book she has done an excellent job of capturing teenage folkways.

The Guelph Mercury (October, 2002)

Teenage readers will be able to identify with Shelby, who has all the normal insecurities and emotional excesses appropriate to her age... Out of Ashes may be of particular interest to those who work with troubled teens.

The Record

Well written, exciting and thought-provoking.

(February, 2003)

well crafted and entertaining.

(August, 2002)

The trials and tribulations of Shelby Belgarden make for excellent reading, guidance and discussion for young girls and their parents and teachers.

(June, 2002)

By introducing a romantic triangle involving Shelby, Nick and Greg, Sherrard takes Out of the Ashes beyond the typical adolescent mystery novel.

(May, 2002)

The novel encourages readers to reflect on why they make the choices that they doan excellent launching point for a discussion about peer pressure.

(April, 2004)

Shelby Belgarden is the new Nancy Drew for budding mystery readers.


About the Author

Valerie Sherrard

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014
Valerie Sherrard photo

Valerie Sherrard

Valerie Sherrard is the author of 12 previous novels for young people, including the Shelby Belgarden Mysteries, Watcher, Sarah's Legacy, Speechless, and her first historical novel, Three Million Acres of Flame. Her work has been shortlisted for numerous Canadian awards, including the Red Maple, White Pine, and Arthur Ellis Awards. She lives in Miramichi, New Brunswick.