LITTLE JAGGED EDGES
(young adult realistic fiction) currently on submission
High school senior Lily Mallory’s life is a mess. Her brother Josh’s Asperger’s seems worse than ever, her mother is reeling after her recent divorce, and her sheltered New York private school suddenly feels tiny and suffocating. And with college acceptances looming ahead, nothing in her life feels secure.
Lily’s obsessions over food grow more intense. She plans every calorie she consumes in a hidden notebook, and sneaks into the kitchen late at night to binge and purge. She exercises obsessively and scrutinizes herself in the mirror, hating what she sees. Her world shrinks, slowly at first, as she falls into the isolation and punishing cycles of anorexia and bulimia.
When a scathing article features Lily and her boyfriend Ben, everyone at school — including her best friends Eloise and Helen — shun her. Desperate for a friend, Lily turns to personal and vulnerable journal exchanges with her young English teacher, Greta Jacobs. The two quickly form a bond over a shared love of books, and then over their negative body images. As their unhealthy relationship grows, it morphs into something mutually damaging. Instead of helping her, Lily’s friendship with Greta only pushes Lily further into her disease.
Eventually Lily must see Greta for who she really is. Little Jagged Edges is the story of a young woman who ultimately must find herself, even as she actively tries to disappear.
At its heart, Little Jagged Edges explores one of the hardest lessons of growing up: the moment when one realizes that the trusted adults in her life are, like her, flawed. Ultimately Lily finds strength in imperfection and the most unlikely source: herself.
THE MOMENTS IN BETWEEN
(middle grade realistic fiction)
Levi and Sylvie have been best friends for so long, they’re more like LeviandSylvie. But now middle school is about to start, and Sylvie decides to attend a small private school to focus on music instead of the public middle school with Levi. Everything is about to change.
For Sylvie, the change is good. She loves her new school and making new friends, and she’s sure a friendship like the one she has with Levi can survive a little distance.
But it’s harder for Levi. He’s always struggled with anxiety, but without Sylvie to ground him, he’s becoming more focused on rituals, counting, and worrying about the future. The more Sylvie pulls away, the worse it gets for him. How will he survive middle school and his own mind without Sylvie?
Alternating between Levi’s and Sylvie’s points of view, this story examines the sometimes painful changes in friendship that happen so often in middle school, and how two different people respond to them. It also dives deeply into Levi’s emerging OCD — the way it begins to take over his life, and the way he ultimately learns to control it on his own.
The Moments in Between is a work in progress.
(middle grade, in progress.)
Zoe is in sixth grade and almost thirteen, and as many in her city of Newton, Massachusetts know, that can only mean one thing: she is preparing for her Bat Mitzvah. Her family has never been that Jewish — sure, they celebrate on the big holidays and look forward to their annual Chanukah latkes, but mostly it seems like their brand of Judaism isn’t a big part of their everyday lives. In fact, if it weren’t for her Nana’s stories and her dedication to making homemade gefilte fish, Zoe and her brothers might not have much of a Jewish identity at all.
At first Zoe’s Bat Mitzvah preparation is just another chore. But when her family’s synagogue is the target of an anti-Semitic attack, she starts to pay attention to the myriad ways anti-Semitism still swirl around — even in her own community. Nana’s recollections of her mother’s stories from 1930s Germany feel more realistic than they used to. And a lot more possible.
Recalling what she’s learned about Tikkun Olam, or “Repairing the World,” Zoe decides that her Mitzvah project would combat anti-Semitism. Being Jewish suddenly feels a lot more important than memorizing Hebrew text and deciding who will DJ her upcoming celebration. All of a sudden, being Jewish feels central to her identity.
Unsure of how to begin, she starts with her Nana. She asks questions and listens to the answers. But can one girl do anything to repair a world that feels like it’s fracturing all around her?
Zoe knows she can help– she just doesn’t know how. But she’s determined to find a way to do something for her heartbroken congregation, and just maybe, for the whole country.
* I must admit that I too am curious as to what Zoe comes up with. I’m sure she’ll tell me eventually, when she figures it out.
A SPACE FOR TWO
BIG has big ideas and a big, booming voice — when he’s around he seems to take up all the space. Little will do just about anything to get his BIG brother’s attention, but BIG hardly notices. And when they do play together, BIG always takes over Little’s little ideas with his own gigantic ones. Is Little invisible when BIG is around? Until a thunderstorm comes… and it just might be the perfect way for Little to find a way to make a big impact. Maybe there’s space for them both, after all?