by Trudie L. Hayes
Love Your Me, LLC
Middle Grade Fiction
It was the first day of school and anxieties were running high. For certain there was the excitement of moving up a grade, but there was also the dread of anything and everything that could go wrong. Not only were the possibilities endless, they were totally out of your control. Whether or not you were accepted rested squarely on the shoulders of the popular kids. Suppose you were too short or too tall; too smart or not smart enough; too rich or too poor; or just plain different?
These thoughts were fresh on the minds of Otis, Chandler and Marissa. Three pre-teens whose paths had never crossed, although they lived in the same town in Connecticut. Their backgrounds were so diverse they may as well have lived worlds apart. That was all about to change when on their way to school a series of bizarre events lump them together. Literally!
Join them on this unreal journey to alternate realities never before revealed. Go back in time to a parallel past, the All Agos. Coexist in a present experience that mirrors your own, the Ne’er Now. Finally and with greater understanding, manifest in a future of your creation, the Will Be Once.
Then you will have come closer to achieving ...as it should.
First off, I really liked the cover on this one. There are so many little details which hint at the story, and it sets a nice mood before even opening to the first page.
That said, the story itself starts off nicely. There are three main characters--Otis, Chandler and Marissa. The first chapters are split up equally between the three, allowing the reader to get a great feel for each one. I appreciated this, especially since each character is very different. They come from various backgrounds, have their own special family situations and are, in many ways, as comparable as apples to oranges. This great diversity in the characters hits a wonderful note when they all run into each other and become great friends.
The writing itself is well done for the intended age group. It's fun to watch Chandler try to get a handle on 'every day language', and how his attempts work toward a clear message of being proud of who he is and not trying to change it. The scenes were also well described, and it was easy to dive into the world.
The book itself is fat at over 400 pages. This is something which already makes me a little critical, since many middle graders steer away from thicker reads. Although there are books which manage to maintain a kid's interest all the way to the last page, they are not in the majority. This story grabbed at the first page, really pulling me in as I got to know the main characters and how they meet, but when I got to page sixty-five and still had no idea where the plot was headed, my interest faltered.
There's a lot of good stuff in this book--the characters are intriguing, their friendship is amazing and the first half would have lead into a super coming-of-age story. The other part of the book, when the trips to fantasy dimensions takes place, feels as if it's an different story entirely. . .as if there are really two books. I loved the ideas behind these trips and the messages behind all this movement, but there were gaps in the reasoning and jumps which made me going back to see if I'd accidentally forgotten to read something. Still, it's a fun ride with tons of fantasy and important messages kids can understand.
And here she is. . .
TRUDIE L. HAYES
Trudie L. Hayes’ personal story and family life influenced her mission to spread the core values of self-acceptance, self-esteem, and self-love to children and persons of all ages. An affiliation with physically and mentally disabled adults and children spanning many years is a major contributing factor. The caregiver role has been paramount throughout much of her life, even while furthering her education or working full-time in a corporate setting.
These experiences have given her a deep understanding of the trials and struggles associated with a compromised existence. As well as the inspiration and joy derived from living life to one's personal best.
It is through these myriad life experiences that Hayes began writing and registering several related trademarks. With a grander vision of promoting confidence and self-worth.
Born and raised in Connecticut, Hayes still calls the Nutmeg State home. The oldest of two children, she remains close to her siblings. When Hayes is not writing or managing her business, she dedicates her time to other creative outlets and artistic pursuits. Hayes has a deep appreciation and passion for music in its many forms; she enjoys writing song lyrics, performing, and has an affinity for Jazz.
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