Thought for the Day:

“If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans. I get out of bed to trap them before they escape.”
~ Ray Bradbury ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

Our characters can’t be perfect and still be realistic. HERE is an article from the Institute for Writers on Collecting Real Life Quirks for Character Creation. It has some great examples and exercises.

Tension is pretty darned important to writing, and suspense is a great way to ramp up the tension. HERE is a Writer’s Digest article by Mark and Connor Sullivan with 8 Ways to Add Suspense to Your Novel.

If you think you are really done writing your novel, you probably should read the great post HERE from K. M. Allan with The Little Details Checklist. It’s important.

I am back, but only briefly. My granddaughter, Gracie, and I just got home after two weeks on the road. I chose April for the trip to avoid the tourists and mosquitos. And I foolishly thought winter would be over. Not so. As we drove through northern California and Nevada, Idaho, and Montana, the snow was so high we couldn’t see most signs, and we didn’t even know when we went from Idaho to Montana. When we were going across North Dakota, there were winter storm warnings posted all over. We left Fargo early on our fourth morning to go to Bemidji, Minnesota where my grandson, Gehrig, lives. We beat the storm, but over the two days we were there, we had to contend with high winds and over 8 inches of fresh snow. It had been a very long time since I had driven in snow, but it came back quickly. We had grand visits with Gehrig and lots of relatives and friends along the way. No Twins home opener because of that pesky winter weather, but otherwise everything was great. Gracie got to go to a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert with her cousin in Minneapolis, and we both really enjoyed the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee. We saw spectacular scenery in New Mexico and Arizona, including the Grand Canyon, and we took it easy at the special stop shown in the photo. I will be gone again for the next two weeks. I leave later this week for Florida to see my daughter Maggie in Ring of Fire at the Florida Repertory Theatre, then we will drive to NY, see a couple of shows, and I will be taking the train back to California, something I’ve always wanted to do. So I will be back again after another two-week travel break.

When I was last here, I promised one of you a gently-read ARC of THE MAGICIAN’S ELEPHANT by Kate DiCamillo. It’s such a sweet book. The winner this week is Jilanne Hoffman. Congratulations, Jilanne! I will get the book out soon. If you don’t know Jilanne, check out her gorgeous website HERE. She has some lovely books published and some great information on her site.

I am always keeping my eyes open for good books about making friends. I think it is so difficult to do, and middle-graders often don’t know how to even approach it. It is a fairly universal problem at that age. When I read about HAZEL HILL IS GONNA WIN THIS ONE by Maggie Horne, I wanted to read it. Fortunately for me, it came up on the review list for the Portland Book Review. I’m really glad I had a chance to read this book. Here is the review I wrote for the PBR.

Hazel Hill is something of a loner. When a girl is twelve and a lesbian, she will keep to herself. That doesn’t keep Tyler Harris, the most popular boy in school, from telling her all his dark secrets. He figures she has no one to tell anything to. Then one day, Tyler tells Hazel that Ella Quinn, a girl Tyler like-likes, won’t go out with him because Ella has a crush on Hazel. What Hazel finds out is that Ella said it to get rid of Tyler, who has been and continues to sexually harass her on social media. They become friends in spite of the deception. The adults they tell don’t believe them because Tyler is the golden boy. The girls need to find a way to be believed.

Maggie Horne

Maggie Horne has written a book that needed to be written. The problems she highlights are very real, and kids face them every day. This will help them realize they are not alone and that there are ways for them to be heard. The writing is stellar, the first-person point-of-view is perfect for Hazel to tell her own story, and the story is compelling. This is not to be missed.

Please don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.

22 thoughts on “HAZEL HILL IS GONNA WIN THIS ONE — Review”

  1. Thank you so much, Rosi! Am looking forward to reading The Magician’s Elephant! Sounds like you had a fabulous albeit chilly excursion. It’s giving me the itch to hit the road sometime soon. Maggie Horne’s book sounds wonderful! Have a great week!


  2. I feel you on the sudden snow and road trips, being from Montana I’ve had my fair share of surprises. Glad you made it safely to your destination and had such a fun time. Maggie’s book sounds interesting thank you for the information. Happy MMGM to you.


  3. Lovely photo of you and your granddaughter! I have to say, coming from Ireland, that amount of snow is so alien to me, I’m impressed you could drive in it at all! Over here a few flakes of snow is enough to send us scurrying indoors and shutting down the country! 🙂 Sounds like a great trip, but I’m glad you’re off to the sunshine this time! Have a fab time in Florida and New York!


  4. I enjoyed reading your travel update. Your next trip sounds just as great. Loved the links, especially The Little Details Checklist. I’m intrigued by all the details you shared in your review. I’ve added this one to my future read list. Happy MMGM!


  5. I’ll read this one, for sure. Thanks for the great writing tips, especially the ‘don’t make your characters perfect or they won’t be real” one. I read a MG book the other day where I wanted to slap the character for being so stupid, then had to congratulate the writer for eliciting that feeling. That’s true skill.


  6. Oh my goodness- it sounds like the weather was most unexpected. My family in ND and MN have been telling me about all the snow they had recently. Crazy! I hope the rest of your travels have been with better weather. 🙂 What a memorable trip to take together. Safe travels home!


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