Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Writer's Voice Query +250 Words


When Charlie’s brother, Ethan, commits suicide at the beginning of summer, her religious father condemns him to Hell for sinning, making Charlie question things about her own faith for the first time. With both of her parents shutting down on her, Charlie finds comfort in playing card games with her Grandpa Ned who comes to stay with them. Then a mysterious boy named Hayden shows up on the front porch with a letter from Ethan which reveals a secret: Ethan was gay. 

Adjusting to this news, Charlie begins to wonder--if her brother kept this from everyone, then what else was he hiding? She sets out to track down Hayden, hoping he’ll lead her to more clues that maybe, just maybe, will give her the real answer she needs. Why did he do it? In her search to find her brother, though, she doesn’t expect to find herself hanging out at a shady bar, dog-walking, painting an unfinished mural, and falling in love. While her family is falling apart, Charlie learns how to put herself back together.

Guide Us Home is a 77,000 word contemporary YA novel that will appeal to fans of Nina LaCour’s Hold Still, Jessi Kirby’s In Honor, and Jandy Nelson’s The Sky is Everywhere

I hold an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and am currently an editorial intern at Entangled Publishing. 

Thank you for your consideration.


I hated tuna casserole. Always had. I hated it at church potlucks when my parents forced me to have a bit of it just to be polite, and now as I stood peering into the fridge and all I could see to eat were seven of the damn things, I hated the dish even more. They’d accumulated over the last two weeks--well-intentioned neighbors and church members had been arriving at our door with their arms full pretty much every day. 
I understood they were only doing the polite thing, paying their condolences and trying to feed us because they were worried that we would be too grief stricken to feed ourselves. And by the lack of other food items in the fridge, they may have been right on that last point, but still I was starting to resent the parade of happy housewives and their plastic tupperware which we “didn’t even need to worry about returning.”
My brother was dead.
He was gone, and stuffing ourselves with disgusting food wasn’t going to bring him back. If it was, I’d gladly scarf down all seven of these monstrosities, believe me. But since it wasn’t, I’d probably have to venture out to the grocery store at some point, because of the three remaining Webbs, somehow I was maintaining the tightest grip on reality.

I was just contemplating texting Brooke for a ride, since I knew she’d be happy to feel like she was helping, when the doorbell rang. Great, another one.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Review: Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Vanishing Girls
by Lauren Oliver
Pub Date: March 10, 2015

(I received an ARC of this title from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.)

Synopsis from Amazon:
Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late.

My Review:
One of the things I love about Lauren Oliver is that all of her books are so different from each other. And Vanishing Girls was definitely different.

I really enjoyed Nick working at the old amusement park. Those scenes added a fun element to the story's sadder tone. The mystery of the missing girl that Nick gets caught up in was totally intriguing, and I understood how Nick could get consumed by it at this time when she feels like her family is falling apart.

It's hard to talk about this book without giving everything away, but I'll just say that the ending was excellent. And when I finished the book, I immediately wanted to go back and start reading again from the beginning with a new perspective.

Lauren Oliver can do no wrong as far as I'm concerned. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!

Review: My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp

My Best Everything
by Sarah Tomp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Pub Date: March 3rd, 2015

Synopsis from Amazon:
Luisa "Lulu" Mendez has just finished her final year of high school in a small Virginia town, determined to move on and leave her job at the local junkyard behind. So when her father loses her college tuition money, Lulu needs a new ticket out.

Desperate for funds, she cooks up the (illegal) plan to make and sell moonshine with her friends. Quickly realizing they're out of their depth, they turn to Mason, a local boy who's always seemed like a dead end. As Mason guides Lulu through the secret world of moonshine, it looks like her plan might actually work. But can she leave town before she loses everything?

My Best Everything is Lulu's letter to Mason--but it a love letter, an apology, or a good-bye?

My Review:
Honestly, I wasn't expecting to love this book as much as I did. I was intrigued by the narrative structure--that the book is written as a letter--and the small southern town setting. But I figured, how much could I really care about people making moonshine? Well, it turns out I can care a lot.

I loved Lulu's character. She was set up as the good, innocent girl, and her innocence was evident in her interactions with Mason. But then the lengths she was willing to go through, breaking the law, to get money for college made her super interesting. I loved her best friend Roni, too. And how Roni was satisfied with small town life until she became the singer for a band that was going on tour. The fact that Lulu and Roni work in a junk yard is cool too. And, of course, Mason was totally adorable. When he first meets Lulu, he lets her puke in his motorcycle helmet. The fact that he still likes her after that just makes him even more awesome.

Because the book is set up as a letter to Mason written after this summer, the whole story has a sort of foreboding tone. I was waiting for the really bad things to happen. I don't want to give anything away, but then ending was different than I expected and I loved it!

When I'm really into a story, I sometimes forget to mark the quotes I like, but here's two:

"I hated not knowing everyone that had ever known you. I wanted to know you best."

Lulu's mother talks about Lulu's dad, saying, "But we're better together than either of us on our own."
And Lulu says, "If I believed in love, it might look something like that."

Ahhh the romance! This story was just so unique and sweet and I loved it! And as a bonus for me, when I got to the acknowledgements I realized that the author is a VCFA grad too! VCFA world domination is the best.