Teen Writing Contest: Second and Third Prize Winners

 Here are our wonderful second and third prize winners from the teen writing contest. We're always in awe of the teens' talent! P.S. If you haven't read it yet, be sure to check out our first prize winner in the previous blog entry. Enjoy! -- Anne and Ellen


Second Prize:


Forever . . .

by Kathleen Herbst, age 14

 “We’ll always be best friends, right?” A girl on the swing asks the one parallel to her.  They are swinging in sync, trying their best to stay like this, but only successful for a short while before one starts to stray.

The girl next to her answers, “Of course.”  And they both believe it.

They go along on the playground, creating their own world in the sandbox, being Cinderella in the fort, trying to fight the evil Captain Hook by the teacher’s bench.  As one of the teachers is framed as the Captain, both aim with their sticks in that direction.

Sitting in timeout, the girls are supposedly thinking about what they did wrong.  But the first girl asks, “We’ll still always be friends right?”  Worry crosses her small frame, the thought that she might lose even her best friend because of the trouble they caused.  But the second girl brushes the worry away.  “Of course.  And I think we beat Captain Hook!” she adds, before being shushed by her teacher.

A few more years of adventuring follows.  Yet the girls are, for the first time, put into separate classes.  The first girl, biting her lip, asks, “We’ll always be best friends, right?”  The friend looks at her for a moment, then answers, “Of course.”

They continue on with their times; they join the local basketball team together, being much of an enjoyable for both (as one is intensely coordinated, whereas the other is quite the opposite); they have biweekly sleepovers where they get some magical energy to stay up to the early morning from chocolate chip cookies; they go to the mall together and watch people’s quirks and laugh as they drank steaming hot coco from the coffee shop; they do, as all good friends do, the usual secret telling, stories, and laughter. Their frustration with the “popular” people escalates as they watch them turn to the exact replica of their older siblings. One of the members of the clique comes and gives the second girl an invitation, turning red as she avoids making eye contact with the first girl. The first one watches as the second girl gives a look not of contempt matching the first girl’s, but rather slightly creased brows with a small frown, her head tilted to the side as she holds the invitation just given to her.   “Best friends forever, right?” the first girl asks hurriedly.  The second girl waits a moment, but nods and says, “Yeah.  Of course.”

Again, a couple of years go by.  The first girl says sadly that she will be going to a different middle school than her friend.  The second girl says that she “really wishes we could go to the same school,” using a tone that strikes the first girl as slightly suspicious.  After all, “Best friends always, right?”  The second girl nods with a sigh.  “Yes.  Of course.”

As was planned, the first girl goes to her new school.  She makes friends cautiously, being sure not to become too close (a few times having some rather close calls).  After all, she already has a best friend, and who could replace the perfect best friend?  She invites her friend over, and they plan to meet that weekend.  However, “something comes up” and the friend says she cannot come.  On the phone though, the first girl asks, “We’ll still be best friends always, right?”  And the second answers, with a sigh, “Yeah.  Sure.  Of course.”

The second girl starts dating, wearing her makeup, choosing clothes of the most popular style.  The first girl ignores her impulse that this is exactly like the second girl’s sister, and refuses to call her best friend’s new friend group a “clique.”  The first girl is still painfully uncoordinated, but has joined many teams and clubs for mental ability. Though she tried so hard, the first girl has become friends with many of these new people. But when she sees her best friend at a district student council meeting, she says, “Best friends forever, right?”  and the second girl rolls her eyes, and answers “I guess so.”

The girls go to high school.  The first girl becomes involved in many extracurricular activities and takes the maximum level and amount of courses.  Stressed out and overwhelmed, she calls her friend.  On the phone, she starts crying, telling the second girl about all of her stresses and worries.  The second girl replies, “I’m sorry, but I’ve got to go. Erin is here.”  The first girl bites her lip and asks, “Who is Erin?”  The answer comes back without hesitation: “My best friend.”


In March of their senior year, the first girl is killed in an accident.  The second girl is called and notified of the death.  They tell her that her friend regarded her in a journal as “her best friend.”

But the second girl only shakes her head.  She does not remember the girl on the playground.

But somewhere in the back of her mind, a voice asks, “Best friends forever?”

“No” is all she says.



Third Prize:


 Rumpelstiltskin: The True Story of the Little Man

By Jaidyn M., age 13

My name is Abigail Weaver.  A lot of people have heard me and my friend Rumples’ story, but I’m here to tell you that the newspaper print got it wrong. Rumple was not some crazy, maniacal man. He was a friend that was just trying to help me.

Now everyone thinks they know what happened in my story. A short old man comes in, weaves some gold and all of a sudden I have to give up my baby? Come on, how realistic does that sound???? What really happened was a completely different story.

The whole reason this started was because my dear old father had to open his big mouth and say that I could weave gold from straw. I’m pretty and smart. I am not some magician that can magically transform it.

After my father went boasting to the King about my special “talents”, I was shipped off to the palace to spin a room full of straw into gold (as if the king didn’t have enough gold!). The cruel King said that, if I didn’t spin all of it into gold by morning, he would sentence me to be killed!

Now, this is where most people are wrong.  I didn’t sit there crying until my demise, I started thinking. I tried to think up a plan on how to get out of this, when my good friend Rumpelstiltskin came in.

I was overjoyed when I saw him.  Rumple had always been a good weaver and I wasn’t looking forward to my untimely death, so I begged him to help me and he said he would. But of course there was a catch (there was always a catch with him). He said he would spin the gold if I gave him something in return. The only thing I had was my necklace, so I gave it to him.

He weaved all night, as I nodded off.  In the morning when I woke there was a note next to a stack of gold.

It read:


I did you a big favor last night, and you did pay me for my services. I liked weaving it for you, so if you need me to do it again, just call my name and I’ll be there.  But of course, my services will come at a price, so be prepared.


Just as I finished reading the note, King Big Mouth came stomping in. He started demanding his gold, like he just spent hours working on it. What a jerk! I scowled as I pointed to the large stack on the floor. Apparently, he was pleased with it because he clapped his hands and had it carried away.

Of course, he then wanted more.  So I had to spend another night in a creepy, dark dungeon while he lavished in his gold. I called “RUMPLESTILTSKIN” and again, he came and wove that straw into gold too. This time I surrendered my ring that I cherished for his services.

After that, the King still wanted more and he said, if I could do that then he would make me his wife (as if I’d want to be his wife!).  Still, between the choices of marrying a disgusting, hairy, King and death ~ I’d have to go with marriage. Rumple came one last time and said that he would weave the gold if he got to have my first child with the King (I was disgusted just at the thought of having kids with the king) so I said yes not knowing that I would have a child. He spun it all night and in the morning the King made me his queen.

A year had passed and I had a little girl named Grace. You see because Rumple had never visited me throughout the years, I had forgotten his name. For all I knew his name was Lord Voldemort!? My baby and I had grown very close. So when he came and asked for my little baby girl, I couldn’t give her up. Seeing my distress he said that if I guessed his name I could keep little Gracie.

 I guessed Ronald, Mickey Mouse, and Harry…. All the names you could think of. But it wasn’t any of them.

I remembered the spinning wheel, and calling him Rumple. Then it clicked in my head. I guessed RUMPLESTILTSKIN and instead of being a baby over it like the story said, he actually apologized to me and said his final goodbyes and left forever, but not before the press came and fabricated an entirely untrue story that was passed down through the years.

That’s the end of the story. There was no sinister little man trying to steal kids, there was no cruelness (besides in the King) and I am still not talking with my father for getting me into this.

That was the real story of Rumpelstiltskin. Now a message to all you newspaper prints, GET YOUR STORIES STRAIGHT!

Told by: Abigail Weaver (Queen)



Congratulations to our Teen Writing Contest Winner: First Place

It's always a joy to see so much good writing coming from teen writers. Congratulations to Abby M, who won first place with the following story. We hope you'll love it as much as we did. - Anne and Ellen

First place

The Boy and His Moon

by Abby M., age 15

The moon is hanging from a string.

It is really very simple, you see. I woke up this morning and looked out my window, caked with the dust of the city. I let in the dank air, and my small bedroom immediately smelled of asphalt and car fumes. I could hear a siren in the distance, and Mrs. Cabbage's dog, Trudy, was barking up a storm next door, as usual. The world around me kept on going, kept on running, but I halted in my tracks.

A short distance away from my apartment complex, there is a construction site, though no construction has taken place there for more than a year. It is an abandoned project. The lot is vacant with the exception of a large concrete foundation and a crane of some sort.

The crane is tall and thin, and a horizontal bar is attached to it. Attached to the bar is a string, and attached to the string is a hook, probably used to lift heavy pieces of metal or wood.

Today, though, the crane is holding the moon.

It is early morning, and the moon remains visible, its nightly glow fading gradually as the sun peeks over the darkness. It hangs suspended from the hook of the crane, taking the last few moments of the night in. The moon looks relaxed, maybe a bit sad, even, as it looks out over the empty, incomplete construction site.

I am puzzled. Why would someone be keeping the moon on a string? Who would do such a selfish thing?

I then think of the only person who could possibly do this. He is the only one I know of who goes to the construction site. The boy.

He has dirty, ripped jeans and a white t-shirt, a dirty sweatshirt almost always tied around his waist. On particularly cold nights, he wraps the thing around his shoulders for warmth, but even from my window I can see that the material is thin, and he shivers through the night.

Sometimes, I see the boy picking through Mrs. Cabbage's trash barrels seated at the end of her narrow drive. He rarely ever gets anything, though, because Trudy barks loudly enough for all of New York City to hear.

One morning, just as I was getting ready for school, the boy came and picked at our trash bins. I hurried down the stairs and sneaked another apple into the brown paper bag that held my lunch. Walking outside, I handed it to him. I could see the hunger in his eyes and the way they lit up a bit at the sight of fresh food.

“I know you've been looking through the trash,” I say, “but that's not very good food. Take this.”

Wordlessly, the boy flashed his piercing hazel eyes into mine, then left with the apple clutched tightly in his bony hands.

Besides the times when I see him picking through dumpsters, I usually spot the boy in the abandoned construction site. He sits up against the crane, eating whatever he's scavenged that day. I also noticed that when a siren sounds close to our neighborhood, the boy hides behind the foundation, as if not wanting to be seen. I'm sure he knows that if the police were to find him, they'd take him to an orphanage or arrange for a foster home. Apparently, he'd rather live hungry.

I do not view the boy as selfish. But, he is keeping the moon in his territory, all to himself, tied up and prisoner to him. This somewhat angers me, somewhat fascinates me. I decide then and there to confront him about it.

I slip into my navy blue school jumper and tie a red ribbon in my tangled brown hair. I squeeze my feet into the worn black shoes that crunch my toes, then grab my backpack and lunch off the kitchen counter. I give Mom a kiss goodbye, and when she asks why I'm leaving early, I tell her I'm going to Mrs. Cabbage's for a bit.

I enter the construction yard, seeing no sign of the boy. The little belongings he has must be held at his side, because I see nothing to indicate even his existence. Maybe he's already out looking for food.

“Who's there?” I hear from the shadow of the foundation, making me jump. I wasn't expecting to hear anyone.

“Um, it's me, I mean Lilly, from across the street. I um, uh, well, I just have a question.” I was stuttering now. Just get to the point. Just say what you need to say.

The boy then emerged from the foundation, looking relieved that it was only a second grade girl with a hair ribbon and lunch bag rather than a muscular cop with handcuffs and a pistol.

“I was just wondering, why are you keeping the moon on a string?”

The boy looked immediately puzzled, amused even.

“What in the world are you talking about, little girl?” he responded. I guessed he was about fifteen, and it annoyed me that he called me “little girl.” I crossed my arms defiantly over my chest and narrowed my eyes.

“That string up there, on the crane. The moon is hanging from it. Why are you keeping it there?” I asked, pointing to the obvious.

And then, the boy started to laugh.

His face lit up, breaking into the biggest grin I had ever seen. He had deep, round dimples imprinted into his sunken cheeks, and his chapped lips were curved upward, little breath escaping them because he was laughing so hard. It made me even angrier.

“What are you laughing about?” I ask him furiously. He wipes a tear from his eye and calms down, then comes over to me and grips my shoulders, bending down to my level. I scowl.

“I'm laughing. No one has ever, ever made me laugh. Ever! You like to laugh, don't you?”

I do like to laugh. I nod.

“Well, so do I. And you just made me laugh. That was the best thing anyone has ever said to me.”

“It was?” I ask, unsure. It wasn't even meant to be funny!

He chuckles a bit more. “Yes, it sure was. And you know what? You're right. I am being selfish. Would you like to help me set the moon free?”

“Yes, yes, I would!” I respond excitedly.

He slaps his palms on his knees, down from my shoulders and stands upright.

“Alright, then. Let's go,” he says.

He helps me climb the ladder alongside the crane. I am afraid at first, because it is very tall, but the boy helps me. When we reach the top, there the moon sits, attached to the rope far out on the beam. It is way, way out of reach. My heart sinks, knowing we will not be able to remove it.

“But, how will we do it? We can't reach that,” I ask the boy.

“Oh, that's the easy part. It was much harder to get it up there. All you have to do is take one deep breath and blow the string as hard as you can. Wait until tonight, and the moon will have released itself and moved a bit because of your breath.”

 I look at him quizzically. “Are you sure?” I ask.

“Positive,” says the boy.

So I do. I gulp a big breath of stinky city air and blow the moon as hard as I possibly can. And nothing happens, just as the boy said.

“You just wait until tonight, little girl, and the moon will have moved. And then tomorrow night, it will have moved some more. And each night, it will move again.”

I thank the boy and leave him, going to school. That night, I look out my dusty window once again and am shocked to see that the boy was right. The moon did move. The moon was free. And it was all because of my breath.

I smile, looking at its partially round, lit face. I blow it a little kiss, and wave, letting it know that I am happy it is free. I then see a movement near the foundation. It is the boy, waving back. I giggle and wave to him.

Each night, the moon moves a bit more. It is slow, but steady, and I notice that once or twice a month the boy captures it on the string, just for a night or two. But, that is okay, I think. The moon is his friend. I am also his friend because every night when I wave to the moon, I wave to the boy, too.




Best Writing Advice We've Ever Gotten

Last week, we posted the worst. Now here's some of the best! - Anne and Ellen

Ellen Potter

1. Some of the best writing advice I’ve heard came from a friend of mine who is a New York City Police Officer. Although he’s seen plenty of crazy situations, and has stared down the wrong end of a gun more than once, when people ask him what it’s like to be a cop, he usually shrugs and says, “Eh. It’s just a job.”

 I like that. I think that’s a healthy way to look at being a writer too. It’s easy to make a fetish out of writing (i.e., “I can only write after I light 12 patchouli-scented candles and have a chiropractic adjustment.” Or, more commonly, “I can only write when I feel inspired.”). Writing is just a job. A challenging, glorious, gut-wrenching job, but a job nonetheless. You don’t need to be a Sensitive Genius in order to be a writer. In fact, it’s probably better if you aren’t. You just need to be insanely persistent. You need to show up for work every day, even if you sometimes feel like you are staring down the wrong end of a gun.

2. Another great piece of writing advice came from Oscar. Oscar is a horse. I was taking riding lessons when I met Oscar. I am a fairly crummy rider. Oscar loved to take advantage of crummy riders. He knew he had a sucker on his back the moment I climbed on. He bolted then stopped short. I stayed on, but barely. That was just the beginning. He had all sorts of tricks designed to unnerve me. After five minutes of this, I told my instructor that I wanted to get off. Oscar had won, fair and square. But my instructor said, “If you get off now, you’ll always be intimidated by horses like Oscar. Imagine you have Velcro on your butt. Just stay put. ” After assuring me that Oscar was not going to kill me, I agreed to try again.  I imagined the Velcro. I stayed put. And after a while Oscar grew bored of his own shenanigans and began to play nice.

 Okay, the writing connection is this: When you feel completely stuck in your writing, when every cell in your body is telling you to give up, stay put. Don’t let it intimidate you. If you shy away this time, and tell yourself that you just don’t have the skills, talent, brains, or whatever, you are setting yourself up to admit defeat every time you hit a rough patch. Imagine that Velcro on your butt. And your butt on the seat. And Oscar . . . I mean your writing . . . will eventually settle down and begin to play nice.

Anne Mazer

 I wish I could say that my best writing advice came from a beloved teacher or mentor or friend. But oddly enough, it came from people with whom, to put it politely, I had very, very complicated relationships. Maybe their words sank in because I was always arguing with them in my head. Or maybe I disagreed with them so frequently, that the good advice really stood out. Who knows? Frankly, I have to grit my teeth to acknowledge that these people gave me good advice. No, not just good advice, it was great advice. Maybe even the best advice I ever got. Grrrrr….. 

1. “You never know what you can do. Don’t give up.” Never mind that the person who gave me this advice was always telling me what I couldn’t do. They were right on the mark with this little gem. It whistled into my ears, oozed into my bloodstream, and started circulating wildly in my brain. Every time I’ve ever gotten discouraged (which is a lot), I’ve thought of it. It gives me hope. And it’s true: no one, not even you, can predict what you might do next. You may have just written the worst chapter in the history of literature, but tomorrow, you could surprise everyone, including yourself, by writing something pretty darn decent. You’ll never know if you storm away from your story in a snit. There are surprises around every corner. Would you really want to miss out on one by quitting too soon?

2. "You’re a misfit in an office.”  When Person B delivered these words, I knew the game was up. For five years, I’d been working to perfect the role of secretary/administrative assistant. I had the suit, the make-up, the heels, and the hair. (Hard to believe for anyone who knows me now.) Not only that, but I had somehow learned to type, could scrawl a bit of shorthand, and was almost competent at taking phone messages. I was faking a lot of my job, and getting away with it, too. People were paying me a generous salary, and I hadn’t been fired yet. But Person B saw right through me; he knew I didn’t belong there. I could have gotten mad at his words, and maybe I did, a little. But then I surprised myself. (See Advice #1, above.)  The next words out of my mouth were: “I’ve always wanted to be a writer.”                  

And then I became one.  

I learned something invaluable that day. It’s okay to be yourself. In fact, it’s essential to be yourself. Don’t try to fake it, like I did, and turn yourself into someone who you aren’t. That’s a waste of your life. (Of course, we all have to do things we don’t like from time to time, but that’s different than trying to force yourself into a role that doesn’t suit you.)  Although I had limped along as a secretary for years (I have only pity for the people I worked for), when I became a writer, new and unexpected strengths appeared. Suddenly I was organized, committed and determined. I discovered that I could work hard and love it, that I could persist through failure, and that I could find my voice.

This advice also applies to writing itself. Don’t try to make yourself into Neil Gaiman, or Suzanne Collins, or Tamora Pierce, for example. They are wonderful writers and will inspire you. Read them, learn from them, but then find out who you are, as a person and a writer. It will take a lifetime, but I promise you won’t regret it. 


The Worst Writing Advice We've Ever Gotten

Ever gotten bad writing advice? We have. Honestly, we've had way more GOOD advice than bad, but we thought it would be fun - and enlightening - to look back at the clunkers. Here is the worst advice we've ever gotten. We were lucky enough not to take it. Read it and shudder! - Anne and Ellen


Ellen Potter

 1. Really, this one isn’t bad writing advice; it’s just plain bad advice, period. One of my college creative writing teachers advised us to walk in dangerous neighborhoods at night. She said that, “One can only feel genuine emotions when one is out of one’s comfort zone.”

That may be true, but I would also argue that being robbed and beaten to a pulp may interfere with one’s writing schedule.

Okay, okay. I’ll admit she does have a point about comfort zones. When you’re in them, your senses don’t have to operate on high alert. When you’re out of them, you tend to notice more, hear more, feel more, which can help you to produce good writing.

Personally, though, I’d rather get out of my comfort zone by pony trekking on the Yorkshire moors than getting mugged in a 7-Eleven parking lot.

2. And then there was this little gem, from that same professor: “If you can manage it, have a lousy childhood.”

 Apparently, feuding parents, severe corporal punishment, and frequent public humiliation are a surefire recipe for literary greatness. Actually, I understand her point. Early trauma can certainly help you understand peoples’ complicated, and often ugly, emotional and psychological  layers; but if a writer is perceptive and sensitive, I believe they can achieve the same results, and still have a Thanksgiving dinner that doesn’t end with a food fight and triple restraining orders.

 3. A while back, the rule of thumb for picture book writers was, “No one wants to read books with talking animals anymore.”

 Olivia the (talking) pig, Mo Willems’ (talking) elephant and (talking) pigeon, and Martha (the talking dog) have two words for that little piece of advice: “Um, Really?”



Although I’ve received a lot of great writing advice over the years, here’s some really bad advice that I’m glad I didn’t listen to. It’s always good for a writer to have a streak of stubborn rebelliousness.

 1. “You can’t write that.”  I was shocked when a well-respected professional told me not to write a story I was committed to. I don’t remember her reasons, except that she disliked my idea, but I wrote the story anyway and published it. 

Conclusion: Even the best of writers can steer you wrong sometimes. Evaluate the advice you receive and make sure it serves you well.

2. “It’s been done before.” I made the mistake of telling my idea to someone who didn’t know much about writing or creativity. After he dismissed my idea, I went ahead and wrote my book, which was eventually published.

 Conclusion: Be careful whom you share your ideas with. Some people don’t understand the writing process. That doesn’t make them bad people; it means you shouldn’t confide your ideas in them.

3.  “It’s just a dream.” A well-intentioned friend, on hearing that I planned to become a writer, tried to talk me out of it. He thought that I lived in my head and didn’t have a good grip on reality. Fifty books later, I now have a (slightly) better grip on reality, and all that living in my head proved to be good for something, after all. 

Conclusion: Only you get to decide whether to pursue a dream or not. No one can predict what you can or can’t do. You have to find out for yourself.

 Okay, we've told you our writing horror stories. What about yours?  


Got Books?

Lately, lots of kids have asked us for book recommendations. So here it is. Ellen and I read mostly for our own enjoyment, so this isn’t any kind of official, comprehensive list. It’s whatever caught our eye and interest. There are a lot of other great books out there that we have yet to read. If you know of any that we missed, write them down in the comments!  Happy reading! – Anne and Ellen




Ellen’s Mostly Middle Grade List


Enola Holmes mysteries by Nancy Springer

 Girl Power in Victorian England! Sherlock Holmes' kid sister solves mysteries that baffle her brother. These books are fantastic! Get a bunch of them and tell everyone you have the flu and have to stay in bed for a week.


Gilda Joyce, Psychic Detective series by Jennifer Allison

Word of warning about these books: be ready to stay up all night to read them. Seriously, they are un-put-down-able. These books are the whole package: great storytelling, quirky characters, and a genuine, hard-to-solve mystery. And of course there are the ghosts. Sort of.




The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by MaryRose Wood

Oh yeah, this woman can write! Clever and atmospheric, although it may be a book adults would enjoy more than kids.



 Secret Letters from Zero to Ten

A sweet young romance set in France . . . what could be bad?







 The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

A gorgeous puzzler of a book. Crazy characters, bruised shins, and an airtight mystery.










Amazing Grace by Megan Shull

A great romantic YA set in Alaska, featuring an unforgettable teen tennis sensation.




The Beastly Arms by Patrick Jennings

This one is weird and wonderful with unforgettable characters.





Any Which Wall by Laurel Snyder

This is the sort of book you want to read in bed on a rainy day (don’t forget the milk and Pepperidge Farm Mint Milanos)! It’s a lovely throw-back to those great children’s classics where magic is always lurking next door.


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I resisted this series for a long time because it was so popular (I’m almost always disappointed by the best-sellers). But like the Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games lives up to the hype and then some. It will haunt you for months after you finish.



Holes by Louis Sachar

One of the most perfect reads, in my opinion.  The kids in this book are digging and the readers are traveling down, down, down through the book’s layers. I have read this countless times just to figure out how Sachar manages this (I still haven’t quite figured it out).






Anne’s Mostly Fantasy YA List


Carpe Diem by Autumn Cornwall

Most of the books on this list are fantasy, but here’s one for the realists out there.  It’s been a while since I’ve read this, but I loved it! As I remember it was funny and touching.



Anna of Byzantium by Tracy Barrett

I hate when authors plunk a modern character down in a historical setting. But Tracy Barrett is brilliant at capturing a character who truly seems of her time. I’m planning on reading all her other books as soon as I can.



Zahrah the Windseeker  Nnedi Okorafor

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

The Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor creates worlds that you can almost touch, and that you’d love to enter, if they weren’t so convincingly scary. Imaginative and compelling storytelling.



Cecilia and Sorcery, Or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot  by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevemer 

The two authors wrote this book for fun, not realizing they’d end up with a published work. The book practically fizzes with humor. A funny, romantic romp in a magical world.



A Fistful of Sky by Nina Kiriki Hoffman Loved this book. Lyrical, magical, wonderful writing.





The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

Brilliant and disturbing.





Shipbreaker Paolo Bacigalupi 

A dystopian fantasy. How many times can I use the word brilliant in this post? 


Here are a few more books. Read them! You won’t be disappointed.

Quest for a Maid Frances Hendry


Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin


 Wise Child by Monica Furlong 


Do you have a favorite book or books? Let us know in the comments. - Anne and Ellen