Mad Props for The Freak Observer


And mad props to Blythe Woolston, fellow Carolrhoda Lab rat  and author of The Freak Observer. Blythe’s novel is one of five finalists for the ALA Morris Award, which goes to a debut YA author for being kickass  (Okay, so I’m about a week late with my congrats for Blythe. But I’m about a week late on everything.)

Here’s a drool-worthy review of the book:

Readers meet 16-year-old Loa in her guidance counselor’s office as she is being encouraged to return to her schoolwork after witnessing her friend’s death in a road accident. Although physically battered and bruised, Loa seems disengaged, which is surprising until it quickly becomes clear that this horrific event is one in a series, including the death of her baby sister, that has torn her family to shreds. This text provides a sharp snapshot of Loa’s life as she battles PTSD from these events and attempts to conquer related vivid death-related dreams and hallucinations. Anchoring each chapter is a short question or statement, generally related to science, that ties to the forthcoming chapter—although Woolston makes readers work to see the connection, enabling them to understand Loa on another deeper level.·A keenly observant narrator noticing life’s small details, Loa holds nothing back, which is both riveting and heartbreaking. An auspicious debut for both the author and Carolrhoda’s new Lab imprint.·(Kirkus Reviews)

And another from reviewer Karen Gowen (because we everyday folks matter, too):

This book is sort of like the female version of Catcher in the Rye. Or maybe it would be what Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird might write as a senior in high school, if her best friend had died, and her world had fallen apart, giving her nightmares and PTSD. Can you tell I’m saying “literary classic” here? Because it really is a brilliant little book. I loved the scientific references, and the little bits from the classroom at the beginning of each chapter. It was so lovely to read an intelligent YA novel once again.

Check Blythe out on and review her book if you’ve read it, add it to your shelf if you haven’t! 

Also, my RSS feed and I just happily gobbled up Blythe’s blog, which is a lovely writerly, readerly, thinkerly potpourri. Highly recommended reading.


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