Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Review of Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

By Kim

Synopsis of Code Name Verity (from the book jacket):

On October 11th, 1943, a British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. But just one of the girls has a chance at survival.

Arrested by the Gestapo, “Verity” is given a choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution. They’ll get the truth out of her. Only it won’t be what they expect.

About Elizabeth Wein (from the book jacket):

Elizabeth Wein was born in New York City, grew up abroad, and currently lives in Scotland with her husband and two children. She is an avid flyer of small planes. She also holds a PhD in Folklore from the University of Pennsylvania.

My review:

I discovered this book while at Barnes and Noble with my twelve-year-old, waiting for her to narrow down her selections enough to not melt my credit card. As many of you know, a WWII setting is enough to get my attention.  This novel had the added bonus of having won the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature from the American Library Association. I tried to shove it into my daughter’s hands, but she had her eye on the Divergent series and so I bought it for myself.

Code Name Verity was a roller-coaster of a novel starting with that first sentence – I AM A COWARD – which made me have to know why the protagonist thought so.  “Verity” is a young Scottish girl trapped in Nazi-occupied France without her ID, a prisoner of the Gestapo after caught looking the wrong way while crossing a street. Yes, it appeared she told the Nazis anything they wished to know, but so would I if someone threatened to pour kerosene down my throat and light a match. She was not a coward, I thought, just human.

“Verity” only offers a smattering of details of what the Nazis have done to her during interrogations, leaving much to the reader’s imagination. The omissions are not merciful to those who can picture well enough what pins could do to toes.

Halfway through the book, after a page that left me howling “NO,” the psychological torture continued with a point-of-view shift that changed everything I thought I knew.

While this is an exquisitely researched historical novel, it throws the reader into “Verity’s” shoes with a jolt just as compelling as the opening of The Hunger Games. Even teens that would normally roll their eyes at anything involving history will likely be unable to tear themselves away.

Have you read this novel? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Why aren't you writing that today?

by Joan

It’s inspiring to listen to experts speak knowledgeably and passionately about a particular topic or idea. We’re big fans of TED talks here, but recently I’ve spent some time listening to experts via a different venue. There are thousands of podcasts on any subject, whether photography, writing, business, aeronautics, you name it. So if your character is an airline pilot and you know nothing about flying (except how to reserve a seat, fasten your seatbelt and kick open the emergency door), search until you find one or two or ten good podcasts on that subject.

Recently I listened to a podcast on architecture, which I’ve researched for technical and artistic aspects for The Lost Legacy of Gabriel Tucci, but not for practicalities of the field as a career choice. I came across a group of podcasts called The Business of Architecture by Enoch Sears. In one particular show, he interviewed Eric Corey Freed, architect, author and founder of Organic Architect, his practice devoted to building with an organic and ecological approach. Over the past 15 years or so running his own practice, Freed has been a mentor to numerous college graduates. Because of his generosity and openness to help, he now receives upwards of 1,000 emails a year from newbie architects, feeling either lost or discouraged by their lack of progress or ability to get started in the business of architecture.

Though I was listening to get a perspective of how an architect thinks and what kind of issues might come up in the course of a workday, I was struck by his universal message. He offers to meet with every person who contacts him and is surprised that only a small percentage takes him up on his offer. His mentees have been known to shed a few tears – not because he’s mean or patronizing, but because he pushes them to think internally, to think hard about strengths and goals and passions.

His advice rang true, not only for new graduates, but also for those trying to take their careers to the next level. I think about the stymied writer, one who thinks it’s fruitless to keep trying. I’m not that person – I’ve never once thought of giving up writing, despite my enthusiastic rejection pile. I love the writing part too much. But I know others who have. Eric Corey Freed has put together some excellent advice. Yes, it was intended to be about architecture. But I’m pretty sure his message translates to other ventures, artistic or otherwise. In fact, I've translated it to my own language of writing.

He asks:

1.     Can you think of a problem in your community or town or country that needs a solution? (Can you think of a character on a mission, in trouble, searching for something?)

2.     Can you think of it today? (Are the characters talking to you RIGHT NOW?)

3.     Can you brainstorm a solution to that problem? Today? (Can you picture those characters in scenes, battling with antagonists, overcoming obstacles?)

4.     Can you put that solution in a presentation, whether it be a narrative, YouTube video or in-person presentation? (Can you write it down? Picture it as a movie?)

5.     Can you present that solution with passion? (Revise! Rewrite! Add tension!)

6.     Then why aren’t you? Why aren’t you doing that today?

The majority of the time, Freed gets the same 10 excuses, which he bats down almost immediately. I don’t have a license or I don’t have the money or I don't have time. From there it continues until he digs to the real excuse. Fear. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of embarrassment.

Most people when asked will say they want to do something extraordinary with their lives. But only 5% of people actually do. (His statistic, not mine, but it sounds right). He argues that the biggest deterrent to reaching your potential is yourself.

So ask yourself a few questions. Do you have a story floating around in your brain? Is it itching to get out? Why aren’t you writing that today?

Friday, May 23, 2014

What's Inside

By Susan

Yesterday, a friend and I spent almost an hour and a half looking at a potential new house for her family. We picked it apart. We studied its trees and yard, the construction, windows, and porches. We spent a solid half hour on the first floor, and then another half hour on the second floor.
"Did you notice how long we spent upstairs?" she asked. "Is that normal? So much time upstairs?"
Part of the reason for the time upstairs, we reasoned, was the family room and office space were there. We spent time there, because that's where—if they were to live in this particular house—she would spend her time.
As I polish and revise my manuscript, I can't help but compare yesterday's field trip to character development, because houses, in general, are great metaphors for all kinds of things: novel writing, mental health, even marriage. And yet with character development, we sometimes forget why some things are important and some are not.
Last summer, I workshopped with Mark Powell (The Dark Corner, Blood Kin, Prodigals, and the forthcoming The Sheltering) and we talked extensively about the interiority of characters. What sets your characters apart, he repeated, is their interior life. What can you, the writer, put on the page that the reader can't visibly see? How is their character revealed by the way they think and process decisions? Interiority is the key to writing better characters, and is ultimately the defining difference between literary fiction and commercial fiction. In commercial fiction, what you see is what you get. To go deeper, show the reader what the character feels, believes, and how they make decisions. Show their internal reactions before they make action. Showing the reader what's upstairs in the house of your character is more important than looking at the home's blueprint; it's taking them there for an Open House.
At the same time, Powell talked extensively about the exterior of a character. How does what they wear, how they stand, and what they drive reveal what's inside?  Can you, indeed, judge a book by its cover? In a lot of ways, painting the outside of a character is like the landscaping of the house.  Sometimes the outside shows you only what the character wants you to see, and inside, you may find a house of horrors. At other times, the outside mirrors the heart of the house, and the heart of the character.
Do your characters conform, or go against the grain? How can you show this on the surface, and how can you expand their depth by spending more time upstairs, or even hanging out in the attic? And if you want a potential buyer to make an offer, they must fall in love with the interior and exterior of the house. They need to see themselves living there.

If you want your reader to fall in love with your story, they need to see a reflection of either the parts of themselves that they love and recognize or the parts that they detest (and yet also recognize.) This is the connection that bridges the writer and the reader—the same way it connects the home seller and the potential buyer.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Have You Been There?

by Elizabeth

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Amy Tan. In fact, it's a regret that I won't use her name as a comp when I query later this year, because her audience is precisely my target audience. In fact, I hope she'll be a reader! But I will not make the rookie-cum-hubris mistake of comparing my work to someone with her level of success. Still, I'm a fan, of her work, of her talks (I saw her in Dallas a number of years ago, and it was one of the most enjoyable writer events I've ever attended; Joan and Susan saw her earlier this year), and of her methods.

Patio dining at Restaurant DeGolyer
One fun thing I always remember is her trying to convince her husband that she should get to write off meals in Chinese restaurants as research. She got shot down, and that's good enough for me to not even try. I presume she continues to "research" at lunchtime nonetheless, and just the other day I did the same, visiting my favorite chat counter that plays host to a couple of key scenes in my WIP. I didn't bother to keep the receipt, though. Meh, it was cheap anyway.
The view from my table

Another place that my character haunts is the Dallas Arboretum. Both Joan and I have sung its praises before, and when I visited the other day, its glory was in full bloom. My characters spend a lot of time eating (write what you know), and so I "researched" by plopping down at a table at the lovely Restaurant DeGolyer and chowing through a delicious Cobb salad. I let my mother-in-law buy, so no tax dilemma at all. The weather was gorgeous, by the way, a gentle breeze countering the sun's rays, and we spent a leisurely hour enjoying our meal.
Go Broncos!
Another locale in my novel is a junior high school gym. The same day I enjoyed my bacon-y salad, I attended an awards ceremony at my daughter's school, in "the big gym." (They have a small gym, too; this is Texas, where athletics are taken seriously by almost everyone but my family.) Even with chairs set up and a podium erected and not a ball in sight, it was a good reminder, just enough of a whiff of old sweat and dirty socks, to remind me of what the place is like. I plan to revisit the scene in my book to make sure I infused it with a sense of place now that I've been reminded.

Write what you know, we are told, and I have worked hard over the years to come to the understanding that the order speaks most to emotional knowledge, and that it doesn't rule out permission for me to write about a Congressman or children in Thailand or even the inner life of a woman who calls India home and always has. But place matters, too, details, and getting them right, and sometimes the easiest research is first person. I'd been going to the Arboretum and the chat counter for years before they happened to land in my story, but had I not, I would have visited to ensure I got the details right. Thailand? I'd love to go if a character figures in some future work, but that's also what the internet is for. Sure, it can be a time-suck, as every single one of my blog partners has or would assert, but it's also a great tool when you can't actually get there. But the scent of hydrangea can't transmit through wires, and the echo of trilling voices bouncing off linoleum floors might be lost on YouTube, and the precise tang of cherry vinaigrette isn't offered by Google.

If you can't get there, you can still write it. But if you can get there? Go.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Easter Eggs Never Get Old

By Pamela

In writing, we can utilize a number of devices. From red herrings (distractions that take you away from the real story) to hyperbole, our toolbox runneth over.
flickr image by Will Merydith

In my WIP, I have hidden a few Easter eggs and the urge to point them out to the reader is almost too much. I'm wondering if they'll be picked up on by beta readers (a few I've already told, for shame) or if they'll slip by undetected.

An Easter egg is an inside joke or hidden message or reference most commonly used in video but sometimes used as a literary device. According to Wikipedia, game designer Warren Robinett says the term was coined at Atari by personnel who were alerted to the presence of a secret message which had been hidden by Robinett in his already widely-distributed game, Adventure.

Some recent Easter eggs I've seen include the inclusion of the numbers A113 in Pixar movies, a nod to the classroom number where many of the animators learned their tricks of the trade. More eggs are revealed in the video here.

In the recently wrapped-up series Psych, every episode contained a pineapple--some real, some as motif. The challenge to the viewer was to find the pineapple in every show.
On the recent season finale of The Mindy Project, writer-star-producer Mindy Kahling added a silhouette of the Empire State Building to her logo--a nod to her character's obsession with every Nora Ephron rom-com set in NYC. It was an subtle Easter egg everyone apparently missed.

Granted, it's much easier to hide a VISUAL Easter egg, but don't forget it can also be a fun literary device as well. Some can be secondary recurring characters from the author's previous works. Others can be symbolic references to other works. Have you ever hidden one or found one in a book?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Exactly the same, but different

photo credit: fiatlux's Flickr photostream
By Julie

Have you ever begun to write something, absolutely convinced you have a totally unique premise nobody else has managed to put out there?  It's the story you're sure will be the one that plunges you to fame. But then, you go into a tailspin when you see an announcement on Publisher's Lunch or simply hear it in the course of conversation ... ACK! Someone else is writing something exactly like your brilliant idea.

Yeah, me too.

But there's a saying that goes around the writer-sphere, reserved for just such an occasion:

"There are no new stories, only new ways of telling them."

It's good for us to remember this. Yes, it's smart to try to come up with a unique story hook, but sometimes we just have to go with our gut. If we have a story to tell, and it sounds a bit like someone else's, maybe that's because it's a universal story that appeals to the ...

The HUMAN in us. 

Even well-published authors get "scooped" on story ideas. And though we get our noses out of joint and sometimes even let that little evil voice inside tell us our idea was "stolen" because we maybe talked about it too much or let it out of the bag too soon, I'm going to guess that very rarely ever happens. It turns out we are just a lot alike as people, despite all our differences, and we are interested in many of the same things.

I dare you to keep writing that story even if it doesn't feel quite as unique as you thought it did at first. I dare you, however, to be sure that you are telling it like nobody else can. Write the heck out of it.

As Donald Maass inscribed in his latest book, Writing 21st Century Fiction, when I attended a workshop at the DFW Writers' Conference recently:

"Many journeys, but only one is yours. Write it."

(And as for that quote near the top, does anyone know who said this first? No? I didn't think so. I rest my point.)

Have you read two stories by different authors that have similar premises? Tell us about them here, and tell us how you reacted. Did they touch you on different levels? Were you glad you'd read both? Were you glad both authors wrote them? (Be kind.)

Alternately, look at the photo at the top of this post and tell us how that mirror image could tell two completely different stories!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Perk of Social Media

By Kim

Yes, Facebook can be a tremendous time-suck and I still find Twitter to be like standing in a crowded room where everyone shouts “Look at me!” all at the same time.  Both are necessary evils for many writers, an expected marketing platform.  For me, an as-yet-unpublished writer with nothing out there to sell, social media is about networking, connecting with writers from all over the world, people I would not otherwise get the chance to know. 

I confess that the vast majority of my social life takes place on-line.

Without Facebook I would never have connected with Therese Walsh, the Blog Mama over at Writer Unboxed. I would not have been invited to join the Mod Squad, a cluster of volunteers who keep Writer Unboxed’s Facebook group a refreshingly self-promotional free zone. The Mod Squad is a tight bunch; we connect daily through a private group on Facebook, sharing not only information on the posts we have zapped, but also our personal and professional hurdles, our rants, and our greatest fears. We listen, we comfort, and we tell each other to just write the damn book already. 

It’s safe to say this group has become a part of my closest circle of friends, though I had met none of them in real life until this past week.

Kim, Vaughn and Heather in Dallas
This photograph, taken here in Dallas, would not exist without social media. I would not know the epic fantasy writer from Michigan (Vaughn Roycroft) or his wife, Maureen (who took the photo). This would be a shame as they are arguably the nicest couple on the planet. Though I live only twenty miles or so from Young Adult fiction writer Heather Reid, DFW is a crowded place and chances are we would never have met. Now she and fellow Mod Squad member Valerie Chandler will sit beside me on a flight to Boston in November.  We will share a hotel room in Salem’s Hawthorne Hotel where we will attend the Writer Unboxed Un-Conference, which is sure to be a highlight of our year. 

Would I be more productive without Facebook? Probably. Would my life be as rich? No way.

Have any of your virtual friendships become real ones? We’d love to hear your stories!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Grandpa Richmond

by Joan

We called him Grandpa Richmond. Though we saw my maternal grandfather only once a year, our anxiety over the visit began weeks earlier. We’d plead futilely with our mother to please, pretty please, skip this year. Even though he’d given her up in divorce when she was five, even though he kept her brother in Richmond, my mother never gave up on him.

My mother and grandfather
On a Sunday, my younger sister and I would pass the long two hours on Route 95 I-spying blue cars and giving the universal horn-tugging signal to truck drivers. No trip was complete without a stop for stacked, syrupy goodness at Aunt Sarah’s Pancake House. We dawdled over our plates as long as possible, before our sulky return to the car.  

In Richmond, we would park in front of the row house on Floyd Street and creep up wide porch stairs. My grandfather’s second wife, a wafery blonde with sallow skin, a sourpuss smile and missing finger, would open the screen door and motion us inside.

At the end of a long dark hallway, Grandpa Richmond waited in his wheelchair, one leg dangling in front of him, one trouser leg tied up to his knee. We were told to kiss his white-whiskered cheek as he closed his toothless mouth and raised his face toward us. After a hello Zisela from his rusty voice, we were dismissed to the front room where we scooched far into the sofa. Hello Papa, my mother would say.

Now I scold my eleven-year-old self for not embracing him on the last day I’d ever see him. For not asking him questions about the old country, about Richmond, about  his part in the Great War, his grocery store, bootlegging whiskey. He sacrificed a country, a leg, a daughter to scratch out a better life while I cowered in the corner.

For those of you who asked questions, who have journals and hand-me-down memories, I envy you. I don’t know his story, or hers, for that matter. But I will make it up.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

From all of us at What Women Write! We are writers, yes, but we are mothers daughters and wives and sisters and friends (and one grandmother!), and this is a weekend to celebrate! We hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Put Down the Phone Before You Crash

by Elizabeth

I was headed to yoga a few weeks ago when a woman in the next lane nearly veered into my car. Only my reflexes saved us from what would have been at the very least a very ugly alteration to both our vehicles

Being me, I took a gander at the offender when we were alongside each other a minute later. Sure enough, she was texting. Still texting. While driving in a 40 mph zone, a spot where three lanes slim to two, mere seconds after almost sideswiping me. I thought about honking to get her attention, maybe waving my own phone at her so she'd know why, but I didn't. For one thing, I would have had to dig my phone out of my purse, which would make me nearly as inattentive as her. For another, it wouldn't make a difference. She's going to keep on texting behind the wheel until her car actually goes thunk. And maybe after that.

Since I was using the time in the car to think about my WIP instead of inviting a friend to lunch, and since I'm getting ready to send that baby off to beta readers, my mind turned to what they would say and what I would do when they did. Meaning, if they tell me to cut out this scene or storyline or even character because it's just not serving the story, will I? I have to admit, the first time I queried, I got the same comments from pretty much everyone who read the manuscript, but did I do it? Not until I'd queried just about every agent on my list, only to get full requests turned into no thanks, it just isn't working for me comments.

A couple of months ago, my son tested for his second level of black belt at Tae Kwon Do. He's been taking classes for something like five years now, and he would be the first to admit that for the first few years, he sort of went to class, but didn't really apply himself. Sometime in junior high, that changed, and he started really working, and it showed. He achieved his black belt, and when I went and watched him test that day, I was blown away by his ability. The day for his second level test, he was asked to break a stack of boards with a kick. The first one missed, and his Master leaned in (okay, up, do you see how tall that kid is?) and said something in his ear. The next kick, the boards broke neatly in two, and the grin on his face (mostly) made up for sitting on that tiny uncomfortable chair for two hours.

Here's what these three scenarios have in common: she isn't going to change until the reality that what she's doing wrong literally slams into her. I didn't take some very good advice, and I didn't get published. My son listened, and succeeded.

This time, I'm going to listen.

It's hard. I know there's a good chance readers will tell me that something I love needs to go. Will they be right? Maybe not--but if three or four people tell me the same thing, it's probably right. I've already done a lot of pulling out stuff that I realized was good writing, fun to read, but ultimately words that don't serve the manuscript.

This has been said here before, and likely it's been said on every writing blog out there, in nearly every writer's guide, and shouted at many a critique group, but it bears repeating: listen to what your beta readers say. If you've chosen them with care and trust them, trust them. They want the best for you, for your manuscript, and if that great character you love shouldn't be in the story, well, the character needs to go. Put down the phone. Listen to those who would help you. And revel in the success you might find.

Monday, May 5, 2014


By Pamela

Bookgifting--finding the perfect book for someone special.

It might not be an actual thing, but for me, it is. And since Mother's Day is six days away and kids are graduating left and right, I thought I'd throw some ideas out there for gifts.

I've been on a bit of a Kelly Corrigan bender ever since watching her TED talk on literacy. Fortunately for me, I found TWO of her titles already on my shelf--gifts from my sister that I hadn't yet read. In a text two weeks ago, same sister announced Kelly's latest book was on its way to me. (No, you can't have my sister--she's mine!) So, in a week's time I read: Glitter and Glue, The Middle Place and LIFT, all by Kelly Corrigan.

I'd recommend them all as Mother's Day gifts but, because not everyone's tastes are the same, let me say: Glitter and Glue is great for a younger mom or any woman who appreciates a grown-up's view on how she was mothered. The Middle Place is the perfect title for someone who's gone through a struggle with cancer--her own or with someone she loves. In Kelly's case, she was battling breast cancer during her father's recurrence of bladder cancer--while they lived on opposite coasts. LIFT is a very short book (I read it one morning before church) and is a heartfelt letter to her two daughters--great for a mom who's not a big reader OR even if she is and would love a book to make her laugh and cry. I've already given LIFT to two dear friends who both lost teenagers. That's all I'm saying about it here.

If your mom (or a mom you love) lives by the credo: I brake for yard sales, then this book by Lara Spencer is a must. I first wondered what she could possibly teach me that I didn't already know (having visited my share of tag sales, estate sales and thrift stores), but I learned a lot of insider secrets from reading this book. (I loaned mine out, too, and can't remember who has my copy, so I probably need a new one--it's that good!)

For an older mom--perhaps your own--I'd recommend Home by Julie Andrews. I'm reading this now for the book club I run at a retirement home and had purchased the audio version for my mother last year. (It's read by Julie Andrews.) The book begins at Ms. Andrews' childhood and ends right as she gets her first break in the role of Mary Poppins. It's readily available in large print, too, so that makes it a good gift for an older mom or grandmother. Plus it's a wonderful story about an international treasure.

A few books make the grade as both good for moms as well as grads, in my opinion. Last year I purchased several Listography books as graduation gifts and later wished I'd snagged one for myself. They come in a variety of subjects. If you're in doubt as to which would be most fitting, I'd recommend My Future Listography: All I hope to do in lists for graduates.Think of it as a bucket list in overdrive. There are also Listography titles for parents, music fans, travelers and readers, too, which could be great for Mom. I love them all.

For the male graduate, I can't recommend Tony Dungy's Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance enough. I read the first few chapters of this book, but my younger son is reading it and has been known to bring up parts of it in conversation with me--proof it's making an impact. What struck me as I read the beginning of it was: Wow! I wish my husband would read this. In fact, I wish every man would read this. Tony Dungy is a former Super Bowl-winning coach whose life now is about sharing "what it means to be a man of significance in a culture that is offering young men few positive role models."

Finally, if you need a book for anyone on your gift list--young or old, male or female--a friend recently gave me Jesus Calling, a daily devotional I now keep by my bedside. It's a handsome leather-bound small book that can easily be tucked into a handbag or portfolio, one that can bring the reader great comfort in good times and bad.

Enjoy Bookgifting with me, won't you? And while you're at it, please support your local bookseller and let them know a good book you've read recently, so they can pass that information along to their customers.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Today’s Post is Brought to You By…

Today’s non-post post is brought to you by the letter K (Kim), the number two (kids), and the words ‘allergies’ (my entire house), and ‘ouch’ (oldest child’s knee and, as of two hours ago, my big toe.)

At least my daughter injured herself while doing something she loves. Me, no, I just dropped a pound of frozen hamburger on my foot. Tonight’s lasagna had better be good.

Between the throbbing and the sneezing, any profound words I might have shared have been shoved aside and replaced by a rainbow of profanity. I thought our readers might prefer a less colorful list.

In my last post I shared a selection of titles on my to-be-read list. This time I thought I’d share some books that I have read and re-read, stories that have continued to resonate with me long after I have finished them. Some are classics from childhood, some are obscure to American audiences, and some are current favorites. All are titles I remember off the top of my head because, as you see from the photo, I’m not getting around so well at the moment.

Here they are, in no particular order:

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

Resistance by Anita Shreve

The Underpainter by Jane Urquhart

Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

Little Bee by Chris Cleve

The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan

The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

Claude and Camille by Stephanie Cowell

The Diviners by Margaret Laurence

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

Room by Emma Donoghue

I Always Loved You by Robin Oliveira

Outlander (series) by Diana Gabaldon

Trinity by Leon Uris

Defiant Spirits by Ross King

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

Ferney by James Long

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

The Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene

The Hunger Games (series) by Suzanne Collins

There you have it, in case anyone needed any more summer reading suggestions. Have you read any of these? What did you think? Feel free to chime in with some titles of your own.
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