I’ve talked before about my best writing pals, Carter Higgins and Elizabeth Stevens Omlor. They are a combination of critique group and cheerleaders and supporters. Back patters and truth tellers. My books are better because of them.

There was a lot of magic in the three of us getting together. We found each other in 2012, at a time when we were all at the same stage in our writing careers: unagented, working hard, hoping. And now my book is out, and Elizabeth’s debut book comes out next year, and Carter’s debut middle grade comes out today.

Sometimes I ponder how well the three of us work as a writing group. We like each other a lot — that’s a huge part of it for sure. And I think having us build our careers concurrently is nice. But I think another thing is how different our writing is from each other. There’s no sense of stepping on each others’ toes, of competing for the same spot. It’s different but the same, also. There is definitely some overlap on that Venn diagram.

What I’m really trying to get out here is how much I love Carter’s book. It has a Cartery quality that I admire and love, an ability to paint beautiful poetic and heartfelt characters and scenes that are also very real and dig deep into your heart. Carter’s brain is a place of wonder, magic, rhythm, and beauty, and every sentence she writes reflects that. (My writing tends more toward quacking ducks in funny shoes, or something.) (And Elizabeth’s is about the beautiful silliness in the world.)

I know you’re going to love this book too.

I’ve read it maybe three times now, in various stages of revision, and every time I read it I love it more. To me it’s a book about family and freedom and finding your place in the world. But once I was sitting across from Carter at ALA in Boston, our wallets thrown on the table next to the mediocre salad I was ravenously shoveling in, and Carter was sending out a tweet about seeing her editor and agent earlier (random fact: Carter and I have the exact same wallet, some kind of bestie mind meld while wallet shopping on opposite coasts) (time out for shopping tip: it’s this wallet, and it’s so great). And Carter said, “Hang on, this tweet needs a baseball emoji.” I said, “Why?” and Carter gave me a look that I will forever hold deep in my heart, a look that said, “Hey, dum dum, did you even read my book?” It is a book about baseball. I knew that. But hey, I’m not that basebally, so that’s not what it was about for me. But if you like great writing and  baseball, you’ll like this book even more.

Just buy it now. Or get it out from the library. Either way: read it.

Oh, and one more thing! If you’re in the Los Angeles area, stop by Once Upon a Time on Saturday, March 4 for Carter’s book launch party!

Edited to add:interview with Matthew Winner on the All the Wonders podcast Also be sure to listen to Carter’s !

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