Please join us to discuss everything literary (especially kid literary): good books, the writing life, the people and businesses who create books, controversies in book world, what's good to snack on while reading and writing, and anything else bookish. We welcome your thoughts.

Monday, January 27, 2014

All About You--Ten Highlights Foundation Writer Retreats for 2014

A Ten for Tuesday Post

by Susan Chapek

Conferences are invigorating, inspiring, occasionally career-changing. Above all, they are sociable. But sometimes a writer needs more—stretches of uninterrupted time to give that special manuscript the attention it deserves. 

Sometimes it needs to be all about you. 

Highlights Foundation workshops offer both the guidance and fellowship of a conference . . .

and the privacy and concentrated writing-time of a retreat . . .

with meals, snacks, wifi, printer, jogging trails, beautiful vistas, and even morning yoga classes close at hand. (Look here for more details about what the programs offer.) 

Highlights will host more than three dozen workshops in 2014. The Highlights site lists them in calender order, so here I'll group them in interest categories:
  1. For every writer: Unworkshopsoffered eight times between January and November; you choose the number of days you need; $99 / day gets you all the benefits of your own private writer's cave (with food and fellowship close at hand). 
  2. Or choose a Guided Retreat with Jillian Sullivan or delve into Everything You [personally] Ever Wanted to Know with Donna Jo Napoli,  Eileen Spinelli, and Jerry Spinelli.
  3. Early readers: Writing from the Heart
  4. Educational/Nonfiction:
    Writing about Science;Writing About Nature; A Concentrated Course in Nonfiction; The Craft of Writing
    Short Nonfiction; Writing for the Educational Market;Writing for Magazines.
  5. Picture Books: Super Children's [Picture] Book Boot Camp; Picture Books and All That Jazz.
  6. Religious/Inspirational: Writing for Religious and Inspirational Markets; Writing Jewish-Themed Children's Books.
  7. Novels: Whole Novel Workshop in Fantasy & Speculative Fiction; Breathing Life into Minor Characters and Transition Scenes; The Plot Thickens; Writing the Historical Novel; Building a Novel from Sentence to Scene.
  8. Poetry: Rhymes with Reason; Poetry for the Delight of It; Autumn Poetry retreat & workshop.
  9. Experienced/published/returning writers may qualify for a Master Class with Patti Gauch or Carolyn Yoder; or explore Opportunities After Publication.
  10. Conferences and collaborations: Chautauqua East; or an E-book/Interactive Media retreat (with Dust or Magic); or one of two Power of Picture Books (with the Eric Carle Museum).

Thursday, January 23, 2014

How screenwriting helped me be a better writer

It can help you be a better writer. Really!
by Kitty Griffin


Not too long ago someone asked me what I felt helped me most with writing.

Getting an MFA was good. But ...
     If I were to say what helped me to become a good writer I would say learning to write a screenplay. Had I not taken a screenwriting class I don't think I'd be published.

Why? Because screenwriting teaches two things, a three-act structure and, how to write an electric scene. How to write a scene so that the reader can "see" it. 

The book Arthur is looking at is "Goodnight Gorilla." There are no words. But he gets it. He understands the scenes.

The pictures took him on a journey and he followed it.

That's just what you need to do whether you are writing a picture book or a novel. You want to create scenes that the reader can follow.

When I first started out I heard all the time from editors, "Gee, you're a good writer, but you move so fast I couldn't keep up."

The story was running away from me.

If you ever watched the television series, "Lost" I really think that was a show where the story ran away from the writers. They got lost in their own creativity.

What can you do as a writer? You can take a class at your Community College. You can get books on screenwriting, try Viki King's book, "How to Write a Movie in 21 Days". Also the book, "Save the Cat" by Blake Snyder is a good one.

One of the best conferences I ever attended was the Austin Film Festival. I heard the Cohen Brothers talk about structure. I took a class with Gary Ross, the writer/director of Pleasantville and many more feature films. I stood in line just behind Sandra Bullock (she's tiny!) and I had the absolute time of my life. There were 900 men and maybe 50 women. There was so much testosterone in the air even I felt aggressive. 

It is such a different world from writing for children, but I'm glad I dove in. (I didn't stick with it, although my one screenplay that I wrote took first place in the Moondance Film Festival. )

As I finish up my newest novel, I am going to spend the next few days looking at it from a screenwriter's perspective. What it taught me to do was to look at my scenes carefully, to make sure they help build the story. I want to make sure each chapter has a rise to it. Most of all, I want to make sure that my readers won't get lost.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Four Tips For Keeping Those New Year's (Writer's) Resolutions

I admit it, I am a bad writer. Or is it a poor writer? Actually I am a poorly disciplined writer.  I know I  should get my "butt in chair," but most of the time I don't.  So back on January 5 when the New York Times came and I should have been writing (New Year's resolutions and all), I was not writing, but reading an article about how to keep your resolutions.  One particular phrase caught my attention,
     "To improve your chances of keeping New Year's resolutions, we offer four tips inspired by recent
        research on behavioral economics and health."
Further, the article was written by a doctor and a professor. They had to know what they were talking about, right?  Here's what they had to say:

"First, make a concrete plan.  When you do so, you both embed your intentions firmly in memory and make it harder to to postpone good behavior, since doing so requires breaking and explicit commitment to yourself."  So scientifically speaking you write on your calendar or in your date book or on any electronic devices that each morning you will set the alarm at 5? 6? 7? and write for an hour, or that you will write for two hours every Saturday and Sunday morning starting at 9.  Make it a real event.

"Second, put something you value on the line." If you don't keep to your new writing schedule, put a dollar in a penalty jar, or cancel your plan to go to the movies, or don't eat that brownie.  Or make plans to write with a friend because you are much less likely to cancel on a friend than on yourself.

"Third, bundle your temptations."  This is a bit harder to understand, but goes something like this: You want to write regularly but struggle to set up a time.  You also love having a decadent coffee house drink but know you shouldn't waste the money.  The solution is to go to Starbucks and write for an hour, while enjoying your Fudgie Wudgie Cocoa Creme Brulee Peppermint Grande.

"Fourth, seek social support.  You can achieve more by pursuing goals with the help of a mentor."
If you are not already a member of a writing critique group, join one as soon as possible.  There are plenty of ways to join online if you live in an area without a group that meets regularly.  Check out the SCBWI website or contact your local library for help.  One summer several years ago I joined a group in the area where I was vacationing by simply using the SCBWI contact information I found online.  I am still on their email list and as a result have learned of a few picture book submission opportunities I would not normally have been aware of.

So if you are still procrastinating, get moving!  It's already January 20 - what are you waiting for?

Submitted by Andrea Perry

Excerpted from How to Keep Your Resolutions by Katherine L. Milkman and Kevin G. Volpp, New York Times Sunday Review, January 5, 2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Caldecott 2014: Predictions and Predicaments

By Carol Baicker-McKee

It's award season! And not just for movies and TV shows!

On Monday, January 27, 2014, the American Library Association will announce their Youth Media Awards, including my favorite, the winner and honor books for this year's Caldecott Medal, awarded for the most distinguished picture book published in the U.S. during 2013.*

Speculation about the possible winner(s) has been building since last January. And not just in my household. Some of the bloggers who track contenders include:
  • Elizabeth Bird, who puts out quarterly watch lists for the Caldecott and Newbery through the fabulous Fuse #8 blog at School Library Journal (see the posts here, here and here - and her final list here). 
  • Lolly Robinson, Robin Smith, and Martha V. Parravano, who write the Horn Book's annual blog Calling Caldecott, which tracks a wide range of possible contenders and also examines various controversies and concerns related to the books and medals. On the side bar you can find links for the Caldecott Manual, lists of past winners, etc.
  • You can find lists of potential contenders at the Allen County Public Library site here and on Mia Wenjen's Pragmatic Mom blog here.
There are always interesting discussions in the comments of these blogs, too.

Mock Caldecott votes will be held in schools and libraries all over the country. If you haven't had the pleasure of participating in one, I urge you to give it a try - you will learn so much not just about the year's best books, but also about how to evaluate an illustrated book. I participated in a fabulous Mock Caldecott for years through the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; it was led by Amy Kellman, a remarkable children's literature consultant, former Youth Services Coordinator at the Carnegie. Oh, and past committee member for the Caldecott, Newbery and Batchelder awards. (And Very Special Human Being! She also serves on the Best Books for Babies committee that I'm a member of.) I learned so much from her about what makes a book outstanding; I find myself applying the lessons in my own work and reading.

If you can't find a live group to join in, there are lots of virtual options, including ones through the Calling Caldecott blog (read the schedule and how-to here) and Goodreads, which you can learn about here.

*The Caldecott Medal is not actually given to the book, but to "the artist of the most distinguished American Picture Book for Children published in the United States during the preceding year." (My emphasis.)

Controversies in Award Land
The Caldecott has a huge impact on a book's sale, a publisher's fortunes, and an illustrator's career. With so much riding on a win - or lack thereof - there are of course lots of...heated discussions of issues. Here are a few you might enjoy debating with other picture book fans.

The Gender Divide
Male illustrators are much more likely to win the award - and have in fact become increasingly likely to win it, in contrast to what you might think. I've discussed this at length here and here, so you may be sick of it. But it's shaping up to be an issue AGAIN this year - Elizabeth Bird's top contenders are ALL by men (though most of her longshots are by women) and the Horn Book folks are concerned too (see here). I will probably be back to revisit this issue again in a few weeks. Sigh.

The Racial Divide
Caldecott winners are more likely to be white, compared to the representation of people of color in the U.S. population. And characters in the books are more likely to be white. New awards, like the Coretta Scott King Award and the Belpre Medal were created to make sure that illustrators and writers of color also get recognition, but some have argued that this actually reduces the ability of those illustrators to win the Caldecott, which still carries more prestige.

Popular/Kid-Appealing versus Distinguished
The committee does not take into account whether the books they consider or choose are liked by actual kids, just whether they are "distinguished" in their illustrations and design. Should popularity matter? Would that lead to the awards being dominated by books found by the checkout line in the grocery store? Or is it possible for books to be both popular and distinguished?

The Process
Unlike other best-of awards, the Caldecott committee does not produce a public long list or short list prior to the selection; some feel that publication of the lists would invite more attention to special books all year and give recognition to a wider array of artists.
There are also concerns about the makeup of the committees, which tends to be heavily female (I know!), white and well, librarian. Does that influence their choices?
The chosen books tend to slant older, though heavily illustrated chapter books almost never win. This is partly because older books tend to have more complex, work-intensive illustrations than books for the very young. Should there be a separate award for books for the very young? Or some way of handicapping that gives those books an equal shot (such as making age-appropriateness a heavily weighted variable).

The Role of the Text
Although the author clearly benefits - and clearly influences the illustrator's work -- the award goes to the illustrator and not the text. Should the award take the text into account? Occasionally books have won despite near universal agreement that the text was not of the same level - but more often books without distinguished texts fail to make the cut, regardless of how remarkable the art is.

Controversies about Specific Books in Contention
This year, for example, there are two books that are basically retellings of other well known tales - Journey by Aaron Becker owes its existence to Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson, and Bluebird by Bob Staake is clearly a revisit of The Red Balloon by Albert Lamorrisse. Elizabeth Bird was uneasy about Bluebird for these reasons, but doesn't seem to have similar qualms about Journey. (See here.) What do you think? Can a retelling/showing be distinguished?

My Pick
Hands down, both as what I want and what I think will win:
See my earlier review (and comparison with The Purple Crayon) here to understand my choice.
(I did get a giclee print of Becker's Tree House art for Christmas! From my wonderful son, Eric! Thank you, again, Eric!)

You can read details about the award here and find information about the announcement of all the ALA's Youth Media awards (which now number 18) here. This link will take you to the live webcast of the awards, if you wish to follow them.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Ten Fun Fantasy Reads for YA

by Cynthia Light Brown

Here are a few of my favorites, in no particular order.
1.When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears (Goblin Wars Series) by Kersten Hamilton. Wow, do I love these books. Read my interview with the wonderful Kersten Hamilton from this blog on Dec. 20. It’s YA, and has plenty of interest for adults as well, but it’s appropriate for a young YA as well.

2.     Warrior Heir (Heir Chronicles) by Cinda Williams Chima. An updated War of the Roses, set on the edge of Appalachia in southeastern Ohio, and Great Britain as well. 

3.     Sabriel (The Abhorsen Trilogy), by Garth Nix. Ah, Mogget is such a wonderfully intriguing and complex character. Don’t know who Mogget is? Read the trilogy.

4.     Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera) by Jim Butcher. Classic high fantasy (if you prefer urban fantasy, try his Dresden Files series). These are written for adults, but fit the YA market perfectly.

5.     Magic Street by Orson Scott Card. This is written for adults, but I think it suits the YA crowd too. As usual, Card has great younger characters.


6.     Graceling (and companion novels) by Kristin Cashore. An interesting premise in an even more interesting world, with a dash of romance thrown in.


7.     Demon King (Seven Realms Series) by Cinda Williams Chima. It’s not a coincidence that my list has two series by this author. This one is set in a fantasy world with lots of court intrigue and a strong female protagonist.

8.     Jack, the Giant Killer by Charles De Lint. An oldie but goodie for urban fantasy, with great scenes of the Wild Hunt.

9.     Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card. Another repeat by a favorite author. I haven’t seen the movie, but the book’s great with fantastic young characters and a classic twist at the end.

10. Assasin's Curse (and sequel Pirate's Wish) by Cassandra R. Clarke. A very fun read with pirates, assasins and a bit of romance.

11. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, (Chronicles of Narnia) by C.S. Lewis. Okay, so this makes eleven, and it's both too young and too old for YA, but...If by some slim chance you haven’t read these, read them before you do anything else.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Announcement of Representation: Amy Tipton, Signature Literary Agency

Dave Amaditz

December 13, 2013, fell on a Friday. If I’d ever been superstitious about Friday the 13th being an unlucky day, the early morning email I received would’ve quickly put an end to that nonsense. Amy Tipton, of Signature Literary Agency, an agent on the top of my list to query, offered me representation.

(All smiles above examining my contract.)
The dream I have worked toward for years had arrived. Needless to say, I was barely able to control my emotions. And as much as I had planned and prepared for the moment, trying to think of the things to say, questions to ask, how to proceed and still sound like a professional, I found myself sputtering around aimlessly for quite a while.

Then, after taking one step off the clouds, I telephoned my wife. Followed quickly with another to my father. I shot an email to my closest writing friends. Got back on the telephone to call other family members, all of whom shared in my excitement, and although they tried, probably didn’t fully grasp the significance of the announcement.

If you’re reading this, chances are good that you, too, are a writer. Because of that, you will know why I was, and still am, so excited. You’d be aware of the many revisions made to the manuscript before submission. You’d be aware of the many hours of research necessary to target the appropriate agent. You’d be aware of the heartbreak of rejection. And because you may have experienced one, if not all of those, you’ll truly be able to understand the joy and excitement I’m experiencing now because of the offer of representation.

Of course, I accepted her offer. I would’ve been a fool to say no. I felt an immediate connection and so welcomed by her from our first communication. I felt as if it were meant to be.

(Attaching my signature to the contract… and still smiling.)
What do I want you to take from this? Don’t give up. Be persistent. Be aware of your goals. Be professional.… And one day, as with me, it will happen to you.

(Stand by for a future post about the top 10 questions… or more, to ask an agent once you are offered representation

Monday, January 6, 2014

First Friday - Five Favorite Things - Not a Drop to Drink

by Mindy McGinnis

This past Friday, January 3, 2014, Marcy and I posted our answers to Mindy’s fantastic debut novel, Not a Drop to Drink. Today, you get to read Mindy’s favorite's. She's obviously given a lot of thought to her answers, which isn't surprising since the novel addresses so many thought-provoking topics. We hope you enjoy reading Mindy’s answers as much we enjoyed reading the novel.
1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?

This might be too obvious but my favorite line is the first one -- Lynn was nine the first time she killed to defend the pond. If you've already read the book, I recommend comparing the first and last lines to get a complete picture of how much Lynn changes over the course of the novel.

2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?

Chapter endings are always tough. You want them to close out the chapter solidly, lead into the next one, and resonate enough to keep the reader plowing on to the next one. With that in mind, I think my favorite ending line would be from Chapter 11, with Lucy speaking to the wandering homeless man: “Good luck, Mister,” she said, her words filled with the hope of a child. I think it's interesting to consider the sacrifices Lynn makes so that Lucy can continue to have a childhood, something Lynn herself was stripped of.

3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?

Stebbs. Easily. He took over the second he showed up in any scene. I didn't write Stebbs. He just happened.

4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?

That's tough because in general I don't like a lot of description. I want my reader to see things their own way. However, it was important to me to set up Lucy as a child in desperate need of help, and so I think the scene when she's first on the page is a good place to break my own rules and allow description: She was filthy, her face streaked with grime except for two clean rivulets streaking from her mouth where she’d drank from the stream. Her tattered shoes sucked at the mud as she tried to lure the squirrel closer. The sharp corner of her elbow poked through the worn crease of her sleeve.

5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?

Easily when Lynn, who has no sense of humor, is accidentally hilarious when telling Eli she's not taking a chance on walking across the country in the hopes of finding a working desal plant. I'd rather shoot people in Ohio than walk to California.

Congratulations to Mindy on her first YA novel, Not a Drop to Drink. Mindy has recently signed a two-book contract with Katherine Tegen Books of Harper Collins for untitled YA novels to be published in 2015 and 2016. We can’t wait to read them!

To read more about Mindy McGinnis’ debut YA novel Not a Drop to Drink please go to:

Good Reads:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13112869-not-a-drop-to-drink

Friday, January 3, 2014

First Friday - Five Favorite Things - Debut Novel Day

by Dave Amaditz and
Marcy Collier

One year of First Friday reviews is now in the books. A great big thank you to all of the fabulous debut authors who have agreed to participate. Marcy and I are looking for many more reviews to follow.

Welcome to January’s version of - First Friday - Five Favorite Things - Debut Novel Day. In this monthly series, we ask five simple questions about a debut novel that will hopefully entice anyone reading this post to pick up the novel and read it themselves, and/or give them at a glance some insight into the author's writing style and voice as well as how some of the characters might think or act. We do this by presenting, first, answers to our Five Favorite Things, followed by the author's answers in a follow-up post.

This month we're pleased to highlight debut YA novelist, Mindy McGinnis and her novel, Not a Drop to Drink.  I couldn’t put this one down, and when I was called away, the story stayed with me until I was able to once again stick my nose back in the book. We hope you enjoy our answers and encourage you to buy the book.

1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?

Dave – In order to be able to better grasp of the feelings and emotions of Lynn, the main character, who lives in a time when water is scarce and humans must take extreme measures to protect what is theirs, I chose to highlight two particular sections of the novel, one in the beginning and one in the end.

Lynn pulled her own rifle into her lap, the cold metal bringing more comfort to her than Mother’s touch ever could. Her finger curled around the trigger, hugging it tight in the life-taking embrace that she’d learned so long ago. She slipped onto her belly beside Mother, watching the sunlight bounce off the twin barrels of their rifles. Waiting was always the worst part, the crack of the rifle a relief.

(This next section came from later on in the novel and shows a contrast in Lynn’s thinking… The fact that she would even remotely consider assisting a stranger.)

Self-reliance had been Mother’s mantra. Nothing was more important than themselves and their belongings. Allowing Lucy into their home had gone against everything she’d learned, but leaving the little girl to die beside the stream went against something that was simply known and had never been taught. She’d shared the thought with Stebbs after they worked on Lucy’s feet. He told her it was her conscience, guiding her to the right decision.

Marcy – Lynn has been taught by her Mother that survival is the most important part of their life. Survival skills have been a part of Lynn’s life for as long as she can remember. If someone comes on her and Mother’s property to take their water, they would shoot to kill. Now Lynn is rethinking how she reacts to trespassers. In this paragraph, Lynn reflects on a boy that she killed because he walked on her property and compares this to another man who came on the property, but she decides to spare his life. This demonstrates how her character is growing and evolving.

She could see what Mother had meant about the dead boy whose boots she’d taken. Even starving, Eli had a sparkle of youth about him, though he lacked the paunchy cheeks of the boy she’d shot. Lynn balanced the two faces in her mind, trying to tack down what exactly made them so different. In the end, she decided Eli was just easier to look at. For the first time since her death, Lynn dreamt of a face other than Mothers.

2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?

Dave - For me, this was easy. Lynn had resisted for so long getting close to someone. She’d resisted dropping her guard for fear someone would take over what was rightly hers. And now, when she finally allows that to happen, one of her worst fears results.

Her heart was beating so hard, she almost didn’t hear the footsteps on the roof. Lynn instinctively dropped down, hand clutched protectively around the thermometer. For a moment there was nothing, only the sound of her own blood pumping through her veins. Then she heard it again.
Someone was on her roof.

Marcy – You know I usually go for the chapter ending that is the cliffhanger – like Dave’s above, but this time, I’m picking a chapter ending that captures the innocence of a child. Young Lucy, a child Lynn has taken in, talks Lynn out of shooting a man because he has come on to the property. Lynn has a conversation with the man and ends up helping him. This last line fosters hope.

Lucy tilted her head against the window to watch the stranger go, her breath making a fog against the cold glass, until they could see him no more.

“Good luck, mister,” she said, her words filled with the hope of a child.”

3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?

Dave – Stebbs is my favorite secondary character. He possesses the knowledge of what life was like before hard times hit. Because of that, I believe he’s able to convey to Lynn a sense of humanity that was needed, is needed, to survive.

Stebbs gave Lynn a hard look. “I know you’re just saying what you think your mother would’ve wanted. Seems to me you’re starting to grow a heart on your own, but every now and then you think of her and it kills it dead like the frost to a seedling. You weren’t taught any different, but it used to be that people helped each other.”

“Used to be a lot of things different.”

“But people are still the same,” Stebbs said, and edge on his voice that usually wasn’t there. “And all everyone is trying to do is survive.”

Marcy –  Stebbs is my favorite character. His quiet, gentle soul helps guide Lynn with choices. Besides helping her survive, he teaches her a great deal about life and people.

Dave and I think so much alike. I had also picked the paragraph above, but will choose two different ones instead.

“So I guess I’ll go ahead and tell you – don’t be making the same mistakes she did. Or hell, the ones I did either. Don’t be afraid to care for that little one, and don’t be too proud to let that boy know what you feel. Otherwise you might end up with neither of ‘em.”

“I’m asking you to be more than she was. Be strong, and be good. Be loved, and be thankful for it. No regrets.”

4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?

Dave – I chose this particular section from early on in the novel. I think it gives such insight into how Lynn thought, how she was taught to think by her mother, how she felt she needed to think in order to survive.

Twilight had fallen by the time Lynn had made a binding for her ankle out of Mother’s shirt. She felt like a vulture as she stripped Mother’s body of anything useful - knife, matches, even the hair tie she been using. Nothing should be wasted. Scavenging from bodies was nothing new to Lynn, but taking Mother’s shirt from her as a cold sleet began brought her to her knees. She cried in long, gasping breaths that ripped through her body. Her knees slipped in the blood-soaked mud, and she fell face forward into the muck, where she saw her rifle.

She crawled toward it, wiping it as clean as she could on her shirt…

Marcy – This paragraph gives the reader a deep look inside the main character’s head in the beginning of the story. And for me this line really shows the stark contrast of Lynn’s mindset in the beginning of the novel and then how her character grows and develops as we get deeper into the novel. And now as I’m reading through the post, I see Dave picked this same paragraph for his answer above.

Lynn pulled her own rifle into her lap, the cold metal bringing more comfort to her than Mother’s touch ever could. Her finger curled around the trigger, hugging it tight in the life-taking embrace that she’d learned so long ago. She slipped onto her belly beside Mother, watching the sunlight bounce off the twin barrels of their rifles. Waiting was always the worst part, the crack of the rifle a relief.

5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?

Dave –  I picked this line because it comes at a time when Lynn, who is just learning how to trust people, tries to teach a basic lesson of how to survive living in the country to someone she has just met.

“It’s not like the city out here,” Lynn said. “You’re better off to distrust everyone at first and make them earn it.”

“Then it’s exactly like the city.”

Marcy –  I thought this line was so sweet. Eli is so patient with Lynn. She hasn’t been around people and doesn’t really quite understand how human nature works. Eli asks permission for a kiss. Lynn leans forward and pecks him on the cheek, which was her Mother’s ultimate show of affection. Here is Eli’s response.

“I’m not going to kiss you like your mother. C’mere.”

To read more about Mindy McGinnis’ debut YA novel Not a Drop to Drink please go to: