Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, everyone! This weekend is Valentine’s Day, and I am a big Valentine’s Day fan–red, hearts, chocolate, bring it on. So for today’s Friday Fifteen, I’m going to change it up a little and make some book recommendations.

When I was a teen, I never dated anyone. I had a ton of guy friends, but there was never anyone I was interested in dating, so my closest relationships were with my friends and family. And I’m guessing I wasn’t the first nor the last teen to feel this way. When people get down on Valentine’s Day for being all about couples, I want to remind them that love exists in all kinds of relationships, and that love is just as real as romantic love. Today, I want to share fifteen favorite YA/children’s lit book recommendations that put the focus on friend and family love.

  1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery: the ultimate book about kindred spirits and sometimes you have to find your family.
  2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: in case you didn’t cry enough at Anne of Green Gables.
  3. A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle: four generations of women come together to help one move on in this beautiful portrayal of family.
  4. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: about being sisters, being friends, and learning how to grow apart and together.
  5. The Off Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock: DJ Schwenk is my favorite, and this is the Dairy Queen book that focuses most on her family; so genuine and so touching.
  6. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki: a touching, beautiful story about growing up and realizing your family is more complicated than you thought.
  7. Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty: forever my go-to book about how friendships form and grow and change.
  8. How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr: love Zarr’s look at grief and loss and hope and how families can evolve.
  9. Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma: the complicated and dangerous devotion of two sisters who can only rely on each other.
  10. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: a devastating story of bravery and friendship and all my feels.
  11. Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler: even when their paths may be diverging, Reagan and Victoria’s supportive friendship rings so true to me.
  12. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt: this story about the messiness of grief and love and illness sticks with me.
  13. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: this layered story of generations of friends wrecked me in the best way.
  14. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth: I got to the end of this book and thought, “Oh my gosh, this is a family love letter.”
  15. Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker: fighting for your family with a creepy Southern gothic style.

Other favorite non-romantic love stories? Share them in the comments. Happy Valentine’s day, everyone!

Quote of the Day

The Winding Path My Son Vietnam

Photo by Sacha Fernandez

“You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”Elizabeth Gilbert

I recently read Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, which was just the book I needed. And I’ve been talking with friends in the arts recently about our fears and frustrations, and how success always seems so much easier for other people to achieve.

Gilbert’s quote above is a nice reminder that you can’t measure success by how many awards you win or how much you make on an advance or how many reviews you get, because no matter how many awards or how much money you get, you’re still not going to feel like a success . The work itself has to be the thing that keeps you moving down the path.

Links Galore

Lots of links I’ve been saving:

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, guys! Yesterday I was drinking an iced coffee and today it’s snowing, which I guess means it’s February in New England. Let’s all spend the rest of the winter indoors in blanket forts, okay? Until the blanket forts are complete, here’s a look at what I’ve been reading and writing this week in fifteen words or fewer:

ReadingBone Gap by Laura Ruby
Beautiful writing, and another good recommendation for fans of Jessica Jones.

Writing: “…when I enter the building it smells the same—ice, sweat, and microwaved pizza.”
Oh first draft, it’s been a while.

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, guys! I’ve had a good dose of creative connectivity this week, and I’m looking forward to even more creative time with my lovely crit group members over the weekend. In the meantime, here’s a look at what I’ve been reading and writing in fifteen words or fewer:

ReadingBig Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Encouraging, open, and conversational book about living as an artist. Definitely what I needed.

Writing: “You can’t sleep through my cross-country playlist,” TJ said. “It’s rhythmically impossible.”
Hoping to finish up with this pass of revision over the weekend; psyched to dive into something new, but I’m going to miss these characters (for the time being, at least).

Quote of the Day

“…have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”–Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters to a Young Poet