Write This Down

256p. Farrar. Sept. 2016. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780374301644.
Gr 5–8—Twelve-year-old Autumn Granger lives in a world of words. An aspiring author, she always has a pen in hand, waiting for inspiration to strike. Her current muse is the long-haired, free-spirited Cameron, who is back from a year abroad. She fills the pages of her journal with odes dedicated to him. If only Autumn could control people in her life as easily as she manipulates her characters. Since the start of 10th grade, Autumn's older brother, Hunter, has been increasingly mean-spirited and spends all his time with his new bandmates. Autumn would have been content to enjoy posthumous success like her idol Emily Dickinson, but after Hunter mocks her private love poems in front of Cameron's brother, she's determined to prove her worth. Getting published will validate her writing and show the world that she has a unique voice and is not just another lovestruck tween. With the first middle school dance rapidly approaching, Autumn submits her work to The New Yorker and the Denver Post, hoping to impress Cameron. Mills does a good job of showing the turbulence of being a preteen. The central focus of the novel is the sibling relationship. Classic helicopter parents, Autumn's mom and dad praise her good grades and chastise Hunter's poor ones, which builds resentment. Autumn often describes feeling uncomfortable at being treated like Gallant to her brother's Goofus. The girl's pain and confusion over being pushed away by an older sibling are honest and relatable.
VERDICT Realistic situations and a nuanced protagonist make this a recommended purchase.

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