Edna in the Desert, Jo Knowles, Maddy Lederman, Still a Work in Progress

Edna in the Desert — Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“Keep a small can of WD-40 on your desk-away from any open flames-to remind yourself that if you don’t write daily, you will get rusty.” 
~ George Singleton ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
I write some children’s poetry and am always interested in good ideas for that genre. Today’s Little Ditty has a fantastic guest post by Carrie Clickard on using made-up words. Check it out HERE.  

Kristen Lamb always cuts to the chase. HERE she will tell you what a synopsis will reveal about your book. Good stuff. 

Any time I can get new ideas for the editing process, I am happy for it. HERE you will find 9 Tips to Become a Better Self-Editor. 

Just a heads up — I probably will be MIA next week. I am going to North Carolina for a poetry workshop and will be flying home on Sunday. But I will be back the week after. 

Last week I offered a copy of the wonderful Still a Work in Progress by Jo Knowles. This week’s winner is Sue Heavenrich. Congratulations, Sue! If you don’t know her, Sue is a writer about science and environmental issue and runs THREE blogs! Holy smoke, I can barely run one. You can find her blogs by clicking on the titles: Archimedes Notebook, Sally’s Bookshelf, and The Marcellus Effect. They are all worth a look. Sue, I will get your book out soon. For the rest of you, I have another giveaway, so please keep reading.

I was contacted by Maddy Lederman a few weeks ago and she offered to send me her debut novel, Edna in the Desert, for review. I really liked the concept so put it at the top of my TBR list and, miracle of miracles, I found time last week to get to it. I would call it a tween book, but sophisticated, upper-middle-graders would probably enjoy it. 

Edna is thirteen and lives with her parents and little brother in Beverly Hills. To suggest that she is spoiled is an understatement. Her parents have created this monster, but they are sick and tired of the chaos she creates at school, so they decide the best thing is to drop her off with her grandparents who live in a little cabin in the middle of the desert. They have no television, no computer or internet, and no cell phone reception. There are no restaurants or shops nearby. Edna will spend the summer there. (I must say, as a grandparent of a fifteen-year-old grandson, I must never let my daughter or son-in-law read this book.) Edna will sleep in a tiny pantry and have chores to do every day. She doesn’t think she can survive this punishment and actually walks out into the desert in a kind of attention-getting run-away attempt fueled by some thoughts of suicide that actually ends up giving her the impetus to accept her situation after she is

Maddy Lederman

rescued by a drop-dead gorgeous teenage boy. She spends the summer trying to find ways to spend time this boy, Johnny, and inadvertently gets to know her grandparents and herself a whole lot better.


I do like the story, although I think it is a little too neatly wrapped up. The biggest problem I had was the point of view shifts that practically gave me whiplash. It was Edna’s story and mostly told from Edna’s PoV, but the author seemed unable to stay there, shifting to other character’s PoV frequently, sometimes even in the same paragraph or sentence! All that said, the story is good enough to keep most young readers engaged and, who knows, maybe teach them a little something along the way. 
I have a gently-read paperback for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.

Don’t forget to check out Shannon Messenger’s wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.

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