Thought for the Day:
“One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you’re maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones. This is like dressing up a household pet in evening clothes. The pet is embarrassed and the person who committed this act of premeditated cuteness should be even more embarrassed.”
~ Stephen King ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Kristen Lamb does it again, this time a GREAT post HERE called Description: the Good the Bad and the Just Please STOP. She always hits a home run. Don’t miss this.
Janice Hardy at Fiction University has another terrific post HERE. This one will help you tighten your point of view.
Having trouble with your novel’s middle? HERE you will find a GREAT article from Reedsy called How to Avoid the Mushy Middle in Any Novel by Jeff Lyons with worksheets and all.
I almost decided to skip my post today. I am reading a perfectly delicious adult novel, something I hardly ever do, and it has really captured me. It is All Together Now by Matthew Norman. I wanted to just sit here and read the rest of the day, but that seemed awfully selfish, and I have a huge stack of middle-grade books I have already read and about which I want to spread the word, so here I am. I am doing some multi-processing though. I am watching my beloved Giants take on Greg Pattridge’s beloved Rockies. It is always a battle between these two teams. This is a four-game series, and Giants have won two of three games, and this fourth game is still close enough in the 8th inning to keep me on the edge of my seat. I sure do love the game of baseball. I wish it could go all year round.
A couple weeks ago, I reviewed The Chance to Fly and mentioned I had another theatre-themed book in the chute. That is the book I will review today. It is Upstaged by Diana Harmon Asher. Isn’t that a great cover? That should get some Middle-Grade attention and love. When I saw this one on the review list for the Manhattan Book Review, I grabbed it. I have to admit, I had a little trouble with the idea of a middle school taking on such a huge show as The Music Man, but when I read the author’s note, she talked about doing the show in an elementary school summer program, so I guess it is done. Anyway, here is the review I wrote for MBR.
Seventh-grader Shira Gordon is painfully shy. She hardly says a word during school, but when she is alone in her room, she sings and dances as if she were a Broadway star. When her music teacher announces that everyone in the class will be auditioning for the musical The Music Man, Shira is terrified, but also secretly hopes she will get in. When she gets the part of a member of the barbershop quartet, she finds herself with some new supportive friends, a new crush, and a mustache to hide behind. Shira and everyone else discovers she has perfect pitch and a beautiful voice, but that doesn’t sit well with the female lead, the petulant and full-of-herself Monica, especially when Shira is assigned to understudy the role of Marion. Drama ensues.
Diana Harmon Asher is clearly in touch with her inner child, creating a middle-grade story that is pitch-perfect with voice and pre-teen angst. Youngsters, especially those who gravitate toward the arts, will be completely engaged with this fun story. The characters of Monica and her mother were a little over the top, having unbelievable power at the school, but otherwise, this is a terrific book.
I have no giveaway this week since I will donate the nice hardback copy I got to the school. Don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.