Manchester Writes


7th and 8th graders get ready to write with guest writer Caragh O’Brien at Manchester High School, Thursday, May 12, 2016.

My visit to Manchester High School was full of happy and thoughtful moments. Working with students from the high school and nearby Illing Middle School, I talked a bit about my process, answered questions about my novels and publishing, and led workshops where students wrote for ten minutes and shared their work afterward. 

Writing fiction in a low-stakes, open-ended way with just the nudge of a new… Continue reading

What YA Novel Should Our Book Group Read?

13262783One of my friends recently asked me to suggest a YA novel for our book group, and I relished the chance.  The women in our group are avid readers with thoughtful, perceptive observations, and they help me discover new books—fiction and nonfiction—that I’d never find on my own.  Of different generations and backgrounds, they bring unique, nuanced perspectives, and I appreciate the moments we disagree in our interpretations of a novel as much as I do the times when we agree.

17564519I came up with… Continue reading

Why Do We Stay Up Late Reading?

To sleep or read, that is the question.

To sleep or read, that is the question.

The other night, I was reading Andy Weir’s The Martian, and once I hit midnight, I deliberately quit checking my watch because I didn’t want to stop reading. When I finally stumbled to bed around 2 a.m., with half the book still to go, I was exhausted but gleeful. Stealing time from my sleep is frankly irresponsible, but that doesn’t stop me. In a way, it adds to my pleasure because it’s a minor rebellion.  

Loving a book enough… Continue reading

Summer Reading

IMG_4707We’re half way through July and deep into the summer. I had my first summer visit to an ice cream truck this week, and when I’m not writing, I’m reading. Now’s the perfect time to curl up with your toes pointed towards a window screen and get lost in another world. Want some ideas?  I read with a YA heart, so naturally, it wanders.

Sweet by Emmy Laybourne is a dark comedy about a teen who joins her friend on a weight-loss cruise, but the artificial sweetener hyped to… Continue reading

Fan Mail and Hope

Q. Do You Get Much Fan Mail?

PurpleFlowersA.  I do.  It seems like a lot to me, at least.  Even though the first book in the Birthmarked trilogy has been out since 2010 and the fuss around the release of the third book has died down, readers are still finding Gaia’s story for the first time, and some of them send me the nicest notes.  This week, one reader told me her teenage son had recommended Birthmarked to her, and reading the series with him had… Continue reading

Perfect Book Gifts! (For YA and Little Kids)

One of my favorite projects is picking out books for my nieces and nephews for Christmas each year.  I have conversations with my husband about the kids and what they’re into lately (soccer, theater, Halo, art, wilderness, princesses, philosophy).  I talk to my own kids about their cousins.  I have email conversations with some of my sisters about what books their little kids have already read, and I scroll back through my own favorite reads of the year.

The ideal book is a perfect match for the… Continue reading