Some of you may not know that I have a book that came out before A Dog's Way Home! The Ring came out in the fall of 2009 and was my "first born." It's contemporary teen fiction about a 15-year-old girl (getting into LOTS of 15-year-old girl trouble) who learns to believe in herself through boxing. It's also about bullying and the pitfalls of stereotyping peple. My lovely editor, Evely Fazio, at WestSide Books (the publisher of The Ring) recently sent me this email from a prospective author. I got tears in my eyes when I read it: it reminded me of all the reasons I'm damn proud of that book! I will admit to being a bit neglectful of my "first born" ever since the "new baby" (A Dog's Way Home) arrived in March. So step out of the shadows, First Born, and shine!
What I liked most about the book is it felt so darn real. Mrs. Pyron doesn’t skate around issues that real teens deal with. Drugs. Sex. Fights. Homophobia. You name it. Mardie didn’t always make the right choices. She stole, outed her brother in a mean way, and got mixed up with the wrong people. But what kid do you know that always does the right thing? That would be boring to read the perfect kid. Her flaws didn’t stop me from rooting for her. In fact, it made me root harder.
I also like how the other characters weren’t cliché. I was so suspecting Mardie’s stepmom to be a bitch. But she was relatively nice. Most stepmoms are, but for reason are rarely portrayed that way in stories. Good job there. I’m a boxing fan and liked how she learned the sport from the ground up. It helped me to learn some things. The boxing action was very realistic. I could totally visualize it. And I loved Kitty! She definitely had a positive impact on Mardie’s life. So did boxing. She learned how to manage her life and difficult situations. I like how she ended things with Eric. And I liked how she didn’t win at the end. But in a way she did win. I felt satisfied. Completely.
Thanks for publishing a great read. This deserves the spot on the Barnes and Noble shelf I grabbed it from. I’m going to give the book to my niece to read. When my daughters are old enough, I’m sure they’ll enjoy a book like this. One that teaches girls that yes they can chase and achieve their dreams. That teaches them to never give up. For me, I got a look into the mind of a fifteen-year-old girl and saw how difficult life can be. Maybe that’ll make me be a little easier on my girls when they’re that age. Maybe.
Thanks so much to Steve for taking the time to not only read my book, but to also get in touch with my editor about it! This is a man with sensitivity. I'll bet he's a heck of a dad!
I'm the author of The Dogs of Winter (Arthur A. Levine Books), A Dog's Way Home (Katherine Tegen Books) and The Ring (WestSide). I'm a long-time book lover, and a passionate dog person. I live in the high country of the Utah mountains with my husband, three dogs, and two cats. Life is sweeeet!