I wrote this book a few years ago and finally published it this year. What held me back from publishing it is that I wanted it to be illustrated but didn’t have the time or money to find and hire an artist. But I’ve been really stepping up my drawing and painting game in the past year or so and I finally felt like my art skills were enough to do the book justice. In addition to the cover, I have small watercolors (rendered as black and white in this) at the start of each chapter.
The protagonist of this book is 11, but she reads a little younger because I based her off my own memories of childhood and I’m quite weird. It’s set in Tempe, Arizona, in the 1980s, so it’s “old timey” as a certain 12-year-old told me. The advantage of having it set back then is that the kids actually have freedom to leave the house on their own and explore the neighborhood without some nosy neighbor calling child protective services.
While it is an adventure, and Scar has real challenges to solve (saving her brother) the book has enough funny points to act as a counterbalance to the tension. A good reader might like to read this independently as early as 8, and adults will probably enjoy it too, especially if they get it on kindle so people on the subway don’t realize they’re reading a kids’ book. I’ve read it to a five-year-old, who enjoyed it quite a bit, though he guessed all the plot points because he’s too smart for his own good. At 36,000 words, it’s basically novella length, and you can finish it in less than a week of bedtime sessions, especially if the person you’re reading it to is winsome and adorable and you’re kind of a pushover for that sort of thing.