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I haven’t done a Road trip Wednesday in a reeeeaaallly long time. But I’m nearing (so near, so very very near) finishing revisions on my WIP, and I’m about ready to come out of the hole I’ve been in for far too long. And I couldn’t resist a chance to talk about the best book I read in November.

And that book is… The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall! Oh, how I loved this. Automatic classic.

I’ve been working on simplifying my writing, and maybe that’s why The Penderwicks struck me. Jeanne is a master of simplicity. Four sisters talk nearly nonstop, and nearly every dialogue tag is “said” (except Hound, the dog, whose tag is “barked”). “It’s Batty’s fault,” said Skye. “It is not,” said Batty. “Of course it is,” said Skye. “We wouldn’t be lost if…” You get the picture. But every sister has such an individual personality that flowery tags aren’t needed. The dialogue said it all. Nearly whole book takes place in one simple setting (a yard, no less!), but she fills it with the kind of childhood exploration that made it seem huge and thrilling.

The book is wonderful and whimsical and summery and lovely, and perhaps that’s why it’s a National Book Award Winner. Can’t wait to read the rest of them!

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Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway contributors post an answer to a weekly writing-or-reading related question. This week’s topic is: What books were you obsessed with as a kid?

SOO… here’s my first RTW post, in all its glory! Since I can’t choose one, I’ll choose three:

1. The Babysitters’ Club series. The entire series. I wanted to move to New York with Stacey, or paint with Claudia, or tan with Dawn… I wanted to BE a Babysitters’ Clubber. I got the whole set one Christmas, and I wore them out. Then I passed their tired-looking carcasses on to my adopted “little sister”, who managed to read around all the fraying and enjoy them as much as I did.

They were so REAL to a ten-year-old… spoken in a voice that I could understand. Ann Martin had a knack for making every one of those girls so alive to a middle-grade reader. Mad props to her.

2. Bridge to Terabithia. I believe I read BtT in sixth grade as a school requirement. It rocked my world. It was the first book I had ever read that punched me smack in the face with death. And not just death, but the death of someone my own age. I’ll never forget it.

3. Summer of My German Soldier. Boy, did I ever have a crush on that cute German POW! And being from the Deep South, I related to Patty like I had not related to any character I had read before. I could imagine myself doing what she did… doing the right thing, changing the world. I reread it a couple of years ago, and  fell in love (just a little bit) with Anton all over again.

Wow… what a trip down memory lane! Makes me want to go dig out Kristy’s Mystery Admirer!

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