Thought for the Day:
“There’s no such thing as a potential writer. There’s only somebody who is doing the thing. It’s like saying you’re a potential boat builder. No, you’re a boat builder when you’re building a boat.”
~ Clive Barker ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends:
I have been hoping to find a post that would tell me to sleep more to be a better writer. HERE, at last, is that post.
I was reading a post by an agent about what to do at conferences, and she mentioned having a “one sheet” with you to hand out. I had never heard the term, but I did a little poking around and found a great post HERE at Book Launch Mentors all about how to create a one sheet with excellent examples.
My critique partners have told me one of my problems is that my main character is too nice, too perfect. He needs more flaws. Bonnie Randall writes on Fiction University about ways to create character flaws. Find those good tips HERE.
I may have mentioned here before that I am a hockey fan, a really, really big hockey fan. This time of year I am pretty distracted by the playoffs, and this year my beloved San Jose Sharks are in the thick of it. So I need to get this done early today and leave myself time to see another exciting game. I did see the most exciting five minutes of hockey I have ever seen last week, and if you missed game seven of the Sharks/Knights game, you might want to check it out on YouTube or some such place.
Last week I offered a gently-used copy of Because of the Rabbit by Cynthia Lord to one of you. The winner of this giveaway is Nancy. Congratulations, Nancy! I will get your book out to you this week. For the rest of you, sorry, no giveaway this week, but a review of a terrific book, so please keep reading.
I won a book on a blog a loooooooong time ago. I’m not even sure anymore which blog it was. Sometimes I just don’t get to books in a timely manner. It’s not that I don’t mean to or that I don’t want to, but time just gets away from me with all the reading I have to do for the book review folk. This is one of those books. Every Shiny Thing by Cordelia Jensen and Laurie Morrison intrigued me because of a couple things: It is written by two authors in two voices, one voice is written in prose and one in verse, and it is about very real family issues. It just came out in paperback, so I don’t feel quite as guilty as I should about waiting so long. And it’s never too late to recommend a really good book, and this is a really good one.
Lauren is a good sister. Her older brother Ryan is autistic and commands a good deal of attention from their parents and from Lauren to avoid difficult situations, but she doesn’t resent him. Now that her parents have decided Ryan needs to go to a boarding school a long way from home, Lauren misses him terribly and struggles with whether it can possibly be a good decision. Sierra is a good daughter and does everything a daughter possibly could to try to keep her mother sober while her father is in jail. But the drinking gets out of hand again and being placed in foster care seems like it will be a nightmare for Sierra, even though the older couple who takes her seem nice, if a little weird. Sierra’s new home is right next door to Lauren, in a very affluent neighborhood, and the girls will be in the same school, a private Quaker school.
Lauren’s best friend, Audrey, doesn’t seem to care about how Lauren is feeling about Ryan being sent away, and they soon drift apart. Ryan being gone has a tremendous negative affect on Lauren and losing her friendship with Audrey does as well, and Lauren starts stealing things, telling herself it’s to raise money for a good cause, but it’s really a coping mechanism that soon gets out of hand. It’s easy for her to move into a strong friendship with Sierra. This friendship is really important to Sierra, so she helps Lauren hide what she’s doing, although Sierra is never comfortable with it and tries to get Lauren to stop. Add to all this competitive issues at school, a crush for Lauren, Sierra’s parents communications with her and the hope she can be back with her mother. It’s a complex, complicated story, but very rich. The writing is gorgeous, the characters well-drawn and well-rounded, the situations are very believable and ones that a lot of kids face. I particularly love the parallels drawn between Lauren’s kleptomania and Sierra’s parents addictions. If this book hasn’t found itself into every middle-grade library and classroom, it deserves to. If you haven’t read it yet, give yourself a treat and find this book. The new paperback is very affordable.
No giveaway this week. I will be donating my hardbound copy to my granddaughter’s school library. If you are reading this in your email, please click HERE to get to my blog, then click on the title of the post, and leave a comment. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.