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From Frances O’Roark Dowell — bestselling author of Dovey Coe, The Secret Language of Girls, Trouble the Water and other “beloved books for tweens and teenagers” (New York Times Sunday Book Review) — comes Birds in the Air, Dowell’s first novel for adults.

“A truly enjoyable read! Quilters will relive their own first patchwork steps along with Emma as she searches for her place in a new community. Non-quilters will experience vicariously Emma’s discovery of the power of quilts to connect, heal, and restore the soul.” –Marianne Fons

In the tradition of Marie Bostwick and Jennifer Chiaverini, Dowell combines her deep connection to the quilting life and her love of storytelling to create a novel about the abiding friendships that bind together a community of women who share a passion for making quilts.

When Emma Byrd moves into the house of her dreams in the small mountain community of Sweet Anne’s Gap, she knows that making friends may prove to be her biggest challenge. Her husband loves his new job and her kids are finding their way at school. But Emma — no natural when it comes to talking to strangers — will have to try a little harder, especially after the sweet, white-haired neighbor she first visits slams the door in her face.

Luckily, a few of the quilters of Sweet Anne’s Gap adopt Emma and she soon finds herself organizing the quilt show for the town’s centennial celebration. But not everyone is happy to see the job go to an outsider, especially one who has befriended an outcast pursuing her own last best chance at redemption.

With Birds in the Air, Frances O’Roark Dowell (winner of the Edgar Award, the William Allen White Award and the Christopher Medal) has created a warm, funny novel about fitting in, falling out and mending frayed relationships one stitch at a time.


Anybody Shining

Anybody Shining

Can one mistake destroy the chance of a lifetime? A girl discovers there are many ways of being true in this magnificent ode to handwritten letters and the shining power of friendship from the author of Dovey Coe, set in the Appalachian mountains of 1920s North Carolina. One true friend. Someone shining. That’s all twelve-year-old Arie Mae wants. But shining true friends are hard to come by deep in the mountains of western North Carolina, so she sets her sights on a cousin unseen, someone who lives all the way away in the big city of Raleigh. Three unanswered letters later, Arie Mae learns that a group of kids from Baltimore are coming to spend a summer on the mountain.

Publishers Weekly (starred review): Twelve-year-old Arie Mae Sparks is imaginative and full of energy… Arie Mae’s openheartedness and yearning for connection make for a deeply poignant story, one with a richly realized setting and cast. As Arie Mae begins to see her life in a new light, Dowell (The Second Life of Abigail Walker) examines the clash between city and country life and what true wealth really means…

Winner of the 2015 American Association of University Women Award of North Carolina for Juvenile Literature.

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The Secret Language of Girls Trilogy

Marylin and Kate used to be best friends, but middle school has a funny knack for getting in the way. Can two girls who grew up together, but have vastly different interests, stay friends forever?

This boxed set of Frances O’Roark Dowell’s widely praised trilogy includes all three installments of Marylin and Kate’s rollercoster friendship: The Secret Language of Girls, The Kind of Friends We Used to Be, and The Sound of Your Voice, Only Really Far Away.

Dowell gets middle-school dynamics exactly right, and while her empathetic portraits of Kate and Marylin are genuine and heartfelt, even secondary characters are memorable. A realistic and humorous look at the trials and tribulations of growing up and growing independent. —School Library Journal

Dowell’s light but observant style reveals the benefits of not judging anybody—including yourself—too quickly. —BookList

She refuses to oversimplify, allowing readers access to the girls’ homes as well as school, making it clear that their inner lives are as complicated as their readers’. Secondary characters, especially the girls’ parents, are likewise given satisfying emotional complexity. –Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

For girls on either end of a friendship whose contours keep changing, Dowell’s treatment will act as a balm. –Publishers Weekly

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Ten Miles Past Normal

Ten Miles Past Normal

Janie Gorman wants to be normal. The problem with that: she’s not. She’s smart and creative and a little bit funky. She’s also an unwilling player in her parents’ modern-hippy, let’s-live-on-a-goat-farm experiment (regretfully, instigated by a younger, much more enthusiastic Janie). This, to put it simply, is not helping Janie reach that “normal target.” She has to milk goats every day…and endure her mother’s pseudo celebrity in the homemade-life, crunchy mom blogosphere. Goodbye the days of frozen lasagna and suburban living, hello crazy long bus ride to high school and total isolation–and hovering embarrassments of all kinds. The fresh baked bread is good…the threat of homemade jeans, not so much…

BookList: This is a witty, poignant story about trying to fit in and finding a bigger world and a more secure self in the process.

School Library Journal: Dowell’s writing is smart, lithe, and cheerful.

National Public Radio: Funny, wise, and artfully realistic, Dowell offers the upside of abandoning normal, embracing your own weirdness and barreling on with life.

BookPage: Although Frances O’Roark Dowell is a best-selling and highly acclaimed author of novels for young readers, Ten Miles Past Normal is her first novel for teens. She lives up to her acclaim in this unusual coming-of-age story about a 14-year-old girl who is far from normal, but very endearing.

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The Second Life of Abigail Walker

The Second Life of Abigail Walker

Seventeen pounds. That’s the difference between Abigail Walker and Kristen Gorzca. Between chubby and slim, between teased and taunting. Abby is fine with her body and sick of seventeen pounds making her miserable, so she speaks out against Kristen and her groupies—and becomes officially unpopular. Embracing her new status, Abby heads to an abandoned lot across the street and crosses an unfamiliar stream that leads her to a boy who’s as different as they come.

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Falling In

Falling In

It’s actually not that great to have a buzzing in your ear. It’s distracting for one thing. And when Isabelle Bean starts listening to the buzz instead of, say, her boring teacher, strange things happen. She gets sent to the principal’s office (that’s not so strange), but then while awaiting her punishment, she tumbles into an adventure—into another world that’s a little bit different, a little bit Hansel & Gretel-y, a little bit like a fairy tale, which would be great, but…did I mention that Isabelle is an unusual dresser? When she shows up in fairy-tale land wearing her favorite high, pointy boots, the fairy-tale people start thinking that Isabelle is a witch — and not just any witch, but the witch! From Edgar Award-winning author Frances O’Roark Dowell comes the unlikely story of Isabelle Bean—an ultimate misfit, an outsider extraordinaire, and not a witch!

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Shooting the Moon

Shooting the Moon

When twelve-year-old Jamie Dexter’s brother joins the Army and is sent to Vietnam, Jamie is thrilled. She can’t wait to get letters from the front lines describing the excitement of real-life combat: the sound of helicopters, the smell of gunpowder, the exhilaration of being right in the thick of it. After all, they’ve both dreamed of following in the footsteps of their father, the Colonel. But TJ’s first letter isn’t a letter at all. It’s a roll of undeveloped film. From the author of the Edgar Award-winning Dovey Coe comes a novel, both timely and timeless, about the sacrifices we make for what we believe and the people we love.

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Dovey Coe

Dovey Coe

Dovey Coe says what’s on her mind, so it’s no secret that she can’t stand Parnell Caraway. Parnell may be the son of the richest man in town, but he’s mean and snobby, and Dovey can’t stand the fact that he’s courting her sister, Caroline, or the way he treats her brother, Amos, as if he were stupid just because he can’t hear. So when Parnell turns up dead, and Dovey’s in the room where his body is discovered, she soon finds herself on trial for murder. Can the outspoken Dovey sit still and trust a city slicker lawyer who’s still wet behind the ears to get her out of the biggest mess of her life?

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Where I’d Like to Be

Where I'd Like to Be

A ghost saved twelve-year-old Maddie’s life when she was an infant, her Granny Lane claims, so Maddie must always remember that she is special. But it’s hard to feel special when you’ve spent your life shuffled from one foster home to another. And now that she’s at the East Tennessee Children’s Home, Maddie feels even less special. She longs for a place to call home. She even has a “book of houses” in which she glues pictures of places she’d like to live. Then one day, a new girl, Murphy, shows up at the Home armed with tales about exotic travels, being able tot fly, and boys who recite poetry to wild horses. When Murphy offers Maddie something she has never had before, Maddie begins to wonder if she has finally found someone who feels like home.

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Chicken Boy

Chicken Boy

Meet Tobin McCauley. He’s got a near-certifiable grandmother, a pack of juvenile-delinquent siblings, and a dad who’s not going to win father of the year any time soon. To top it off, Tobin’s only friend truly believes that the study of chickens will reveal…the meaning of life? Getting through seventh grade isn’t easy for anyone, but when the first day of school starts out with your granny’s arrest, you know you’ve got real problems. Throw on a five-day suspension, a chicken that lays green eggs, and a family feud that’s tearing everyone to pieces, and you’re in for one heck of a ride.

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Phineas L. MacGuire – Gets Cooking

Phineas L. MacGuire Gets Cooking!

Phineas L. MacGuire — scientist extraordinaire — has a new chore: cooking dinner every night. He may be a genius, but he knows nothing about following a recipe. A pinch? A dash? A smidge? This doesn’t seem very scientific. A pound of spaghetti? Salt on brownies? Lemon in biscuits? Why, these recipes look a little funky. But he’d better learn quickly if he and his friends are going to win the $10,000 Bake-Off prize. And to complicate matters, school bully Evan Forbes has taken a liking to Phineas’s brownies…too much of a liking. As in, if Phineas can’t make Evan enough brownies, he’ll get clobbered for sure.

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Phineas L. MacGuire … Erupts!

Phineas L. MacGuire Erupts!

Disaster strikes when his teacher pairs Mac and his un-best friend together for the upcoming science fair. Worse, this un-best friend wants the project to be on dinosaurs, which is so third grade. Worse still, it seems as though everyone else in his class finds the un-best friend as unlikeable as Mac does. But, being a boy-scientist, once Mac notices this, he just might have to do some investigating. California Young Reader Medal Nominee; New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing; Virginia Readers’ Choice Award Master List; William Allen White Children’s Book Award Master List.

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Phineas L. MacGuire … Blasts Off!

Phineas L. MacGuire Blasts Off!

Phineas L. MacGuire (a.k.a. Mac) is less than up-to-date on planetary happenings. (Marsquakes? Who knew?) If he’s going to be the best scientist in the fourth grade, Mac has to set his sights pretty high. To outer space, actually. But Space Camp is expensive. Where is he going to find enough money for a week on Mars (or a pretty close simulation thereof)? Houston, we have another problem: a gigantic, slobbery dog named Lemon Drop. Mac can earn the money he needs by walking Mrs. McClosky’s yellow Lab, but first he needs to survive the walks and the slobber! Good thing Mac is a scientific genius with friends like Ben and Aretha. Together the three of them discover that Lemon Drop is no ordinary dog — that Lab is a real-life Lab-oratory.

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Phineas L. MacGuire Gets Slimed!

Phineas L. MacGuire Gets Slimed!

Phineas L. MacGuire—a.k.a. Mac—aims to be the best fourth-grade scientist ever. It’s a tall order, but he’s confident that he can achieve his goal, especially since Aretha has asked him to help her earn a Girl Scout badge by creating the mold that produces penicillin. How many fourth graders can say they’ve reproduced penicillin? None, as far as Mac knows. And who knows more about mold than Mac? But soon Mac is busy managing Ben’s campaign for class president and dealing with his weird new babysitter. How can he focus on mold?

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