Bird Face Wendy

Things relevant to reading, writing, publishing or marketing teen fiction.

New Summer Reads for You or Your Teen

I’m excited to tell you about some new middle-grade and young adult releases for summer reading. There’s a variety here in realism, both contemporary and historical. And lots of real-life drama for both girls and boys.

LifeChangingLoveCover.jpg Life-changing Love by Theresa Linden releases tomorrow!  I recommend this novel about dating to the older female teen rather than a middle-schooler, but if you are a middle-school parent know that it addresses some serious issues.

Caitlyn Summer, soon to be fifteen, must practice old-fashioned courtship with high parental involvement, but she has a terrible crush on shy Roland West and she has competition from a girl with no restrictions. As Caitlyn struggles to remain faithful to God, her parents, and herself, her best friend gets pregnant and might get an abortion. When Caitlyn discovers her mother’s past mistakes, she begins to resent all the guidelines her parents expect her to follow. The characters in Life-Changing Love face the questions: Who am I? Where am I headed? How am I going to get there?

Theresa Linden is also the author of the dystopian Chasing Liberty trilogy. Find out more about her and her work at

JustClaire Cover Available now, Just Claire by Jean Ann Williams, is  a story that takes place in the 1960s, so it is considered historical. Boy, am I old.

The setting is rural northern California, and I particularly enjoyed the main character’s descriptions of the people and things around her. I think you will, too.

ClaireLee’s life changes when she must take charge of her siblings after her mother becomes depressed from a difficult childbirth. Frightened by the way Mama sleeps too much and her crying spells during waking hours, ClaireLee just knows she’ll catch her illness like a cold or flu that hangs on through winter. ClaireLee finds comfort in the lies she tells herself and others in order to hide the truth about her erratic mother. Deciding she needs to re-invent herself, she sets out to impress a group of popular girls.

Jean Ann Williams comes from a large family, and Just Claire is her first novel! Visit the author at her blog to learn more.


7RiddlestoNowhere2 500x750 (1) If you love Chicago and its architecture or, like me, have always wanted to visit the windy city, pick up Seven Riddles to Nowhere. A seventh-grader and his friends go on a quest that takes them through Chicago’s historic Catholic churches and cathedrals. Maybe there’s one cathedral and the rest churches, but anyway the reader is taken on a learning adventure. It would be equally entertaining for girls and boys. I thoroughly enjoyed the advanced reader copy of this book I received from author A.J. Cattapan. Look for its release this coming August.

A.J. Cattapan is a bestselling author, speaker, and middle school English teacher living in the Chicago area. You can follow her writing and travel adventures at

TheRoseandtheSword You poets will love this one! The author of The Rose and the Sword, Gina Marinello-Sweeney has a beautiful way with language, and her novels include poetry. ( Her name is rather poetic too, don’t you think?)

Rebecca Veritas is a new college graduate, eager to pursue her dreams as a clinical psychologist. After receiving a full scholarship for an internship recommended by her old professor and friend Dr. Everson, she leaves the quiet suburban town of Cedar Heights for the big city of Los Angeles. As she adjusts to her new surroundings, beginning to work with her assigned mentor and a wide variety of clients with all the enthusiasm of a fresh intern, she finds solace in a mysterious antique bookstore. Yet, as her thoughts still linger on someone from her past, she is unaware that the present has the potential to haunt her the most.

Although the main character is out of high school, this is romantic suspense that is suitable for high school teens, in my opionion.

Gina lives in southern California, where she is at work on the next volume in The Veritas Chronicles, as well as a short story collection. Visit for more information.


If you pick up one of these, let me know how you like it!





I’m Almost Speechless

. . . and beyond excited!

PrintBird Face received the Bronze Award for Pre-teen Fiction Mature Issues in the 2014 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards.

“Creating books that inspire our children to read, to learn, and to dream is an extremely important task, and these awards were conceived to reward those efforts. Each year’s entries are judged by expert panels of youth educators, librarians, booksellers, and book reviewers of all ages.”

And my congratulations go out to all the other winners this year and in years past, including their publishers, authors, editors, and illustrators!


Bash and the Pirate Pig

Bash PiratePigThe delightfully illustrated cover is enough to entice you to pick up the book.

Then there’s this great opening line:  “For stupid reasons that weren’t my fault, I was tried, convicted, and sentenced to a summer with my wacko cousin Bash on the Farm of Doom.”

Burton W. Cole’s middle-grade novel shows children the great big beautiful playground God has created for them outdoors, containing cousins, weird friends, and other living creatures. Through Bash and his “farmin’ and fishin’” book, Raymond (aka Beamer) builds, explores, and learns to care about much more than himself.

Both boys and girls ages 8 to 11 can relate to the characters and enjoy the fun of their antics. And as an adult, I was reminded that kids often labeled “mischievous” are merely adventurous. There’s goodness in those pranksters and stunt performers.

This is a book the whole family can appreciate, and it may nudge the kids out of their virtual worlds and into the real one. Find it on Amazon and in Christian bookstores, as well as in others.

Please take a look at what author Leigh DeLozier has to say about Bash and the Pirate Pig at Writing Stars.


For Hurricanes or Anytime: A Family Book Club

The windows of the house are boarded up, water is stored, flashlights and candles are ready and waiting. The kids hope they don’t lose the signal for their hand-held technologies. You hope the roof doesn’t blow off.

It’s been a long while since this many members of your family have been in the same place all at once. Maybe the group is not at home–maybe you’re all in the car, stuck in traffic on an evacuation route.

If only you had a family-friendly book for everyone to share. To kill the boredom. To calm the nerves. To reconnect you to one another.

You recall a period in your lives when you read together. Your spouse shared an article in a favorite magazine. A daughter or son, niece or nephew, tucked a sweet head under your chin to hear a fairy tale. You and your sibling raced each other to devour the same romance novel or legal thriller at the top of the bestseller list.

You can reclaim that closeness that reading together brings. You don’t even have to purchase a copy for every member of the family. One will do. One printed copy of a book to pass around the room or the car. Everyone able to turn the pages will have the opportunity to touch them, whether they are able to read them or not. Someone else can do the actual reading for the three-year-old or the great aunt who is partially blind. They’ll still hear the words and enjoy the sounds of your voices bringing a story to life.

Revisit a classic like Anne of Green Gables or The Swiss Family Robinson, or select a new title from your library or bookstore. Search online for middle-grade novels that family members of all ages can relate to. Check out the reviews.

It doesn’t matter if you are only a “family of two” like Wendy and her mother. If you want to know your family better, get your heads together inside a book and discuss what you find.

I hope you won’t wait for the next hurricane to do it.

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