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Building With Words and Writing With Brick

Above anything else that I am, I am a storyteller. I am prone to devoting myself to the worlds in my head, as most storytellers are. Like all writers, I tend to commit my stories to words—language is my primary medium. But it isn’t my only.
This is why I am enthralled by architecture: I see buildings as another medium for storytelling. But, unlike books or paintings, buildings don’t stop becoming something once they’ve been built. Once started, they continue to tell themselves. 
They are a vehicle for my stories—they often help propel them in new directions I wouldn’t have otherwise deemed possible. My buildings are as much a part of The Knowers as my books. 

Enter Me, sophomore year. The Knowers is going through major overhaul. The Eminence isn’t born yet. I think I want to be a marine biologist, I have no idea how to draw, I have to take Scripture studies for my Catholic school’s religious curriculum. 
Yes, the Bible can be very interesting, but this specific class was more tedious than…
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Teen Author Interview: McCaid Paul

I had the wonderful opportunity and honor to interview McCaid Paul, author of the Summersville series, for Teenage Lexicon! A teen author from Northwest Florida, McCaid has already published two mystery/thriller novels at just fifteen. I asked him about writing, inspiration, and other interests: 
What got you interested in writing? Was there a special person in your life who encouraged you, or did you read a book so compelling that you decided to write your own?
I first became interested in writing during the first-grade, after my teacher gave our class a writing prompt every day for the rest of the school year. I enjoyed writing in my journal as much as I could, especially after my dad began writing short stories to motivate and inspire me to “keep going.” My mom was also a source of encouragement since she was a teacher. She played a huge part in keeping me on track, and helping me to develop a love for reading and writing at an early age. The teachers and staff of my elementary schoo…

Every Bright and Broken Thing by Brain McBride Review

Every Bright and Broken Thing by Brian McBride is one of those books that stays with you. I’ve read this book twice now, and both times, I was left staring at the last page in complete awe of what I’d just encountered. It’s the kind of book that grips you by the heartstrings the second you open it and doesn’t let you go until long after you’ve closed it. 
Warning: Mild spoilers ahead!
Perhaps my favorite thing about this book are the characters. Ezra and Liam are so dynamic and realistic that I felt for them consistently throughout the book. Whenever they hurt, I hurt in response. I found myself internally yelling at McBride a lot to give these poor boys a break. (Of course, I subsequently internally thanked him for giving me a story in which I could become so heavily engrossed.) Both characters were defined by how they dealt with their trauma, not by the sheer fact that they were broken, which is something I often find in books of this nature. The things that Ezra and Liam went though …

Prison of Outcasts by Kyra Johnson Review

I’m a sucker for ragtag groups of outcasts, dynamic fantasy creatures, strong narrative voices, and eclectic origin stories. Prison of Outcasts, the first book of Kyra Johnson’s Mizlie Series, checks each of these boxes, and it does so marvelously. It had been so long since I’d read a fantasy book I’d enjoyed, let alone one that I couldn’t put down until well past midnight. Here is a book that intrigues, surprises, and has you laughing and crying simultaneously from the first word to the last. 
Warning: Mild spoilers ahead!
Nathan/Ning’s origin story is by far one of my favorite origin stories of all time. It’s memorable, humorous, and so out there that you can’t help but find it absolutely brilliant. What an incredible way to set up an incredible book.
Ning is a deceivingly dynamic character. At first, he seems to be the only dull character in the vibrant cast. But he isn’t dull. He just doesn’t know who he is. A reader meets Ning right alongside Ning himself. I so rarely read character…

Dawn Chandler by Eliza Noel Review

I haven’t been reading a lot of middle grade fiction lately, but Dawn Chandler reminded me of all I’ve been missing—innocent characters, whimsical settings, and a straightforward plot driven by an overarching moral of the story. Dawn Chandler beautifully checked each of these boxes and more.
Warning: mild spoilers ahead!
Eliza Noel, coming from a big family herself, wonderfully captures the blithe chaos of a large family with her natural, affable dialogue and leapfrogging focal points. The very first scene of the book was reminiscent of busy mornings—there’s a tangible energy among her words that allows the reader to be in the Jennings’ kitchen as they get ready for the day. These first few pages pulled me into the book.
Noel has a knack for balancing a large cast of characters. Aided only by a list in the front of the book—a unique feature that reminded me of the old American Girl books, which, needless to say, I absolutely adored—she gives each character their own identity and differen…

Lydia Green of Mulberry Glen by Millie Florence Review

It’s been awhile since I’ve read a book with such pure and innocent magic, as one finds in Lydia Green of Mulberry Glen. As we grow older, we tend to forget that fairy tales exist, but Lydia Green of Mulberry Glen, reminiscent of the leather bound storybook tucked next to the fireplace at my grandma’s house, restores a part of your heart you didn’t realize needed restoration. 
Warning - Spoilers ahead!
I found myself lost in Lydia’s world on every page. Millie Florence strikes the perfect balance between flowering poetry and compelling prose—she allowed the inventive imagery to exist without compromising the pace of her plot, an equilibrium I rarely find in middle grade fiction. I knew the language Florence was capable of after reading Honey Butter, her first novel, but the growth Lydia Green showcases is astounding. She takes you by the hand and pulls you straight to the heart of her mystical world.
And her world-building is stellar. Without ever explaining the Pendent and apprenticeshi…

Author Interview with Eliza Noel

One of my favorite things about being a teen author is that we have the entire world at our fingertips, which makes for wonderful communication among us, regardless of where we are. Even though Eliza Noel lives in California and I’m over in New York, I was able to participate in her blog tour, which allows her to reach the computers of people worldwide without any strenuous travel. 
I had the opportunity—and the honor—to interview Eliza about her upcoming release, Dawn Chandler. Regarded as “a story of faith, family, and contentment”, the middle-grade novel follows twelve-year-old Dawn from Fresno to Lone Pine, California as her parents decide to homeschool her and the rest of her siblings. Dawn isn’t thrilled about being homeschooled, but she’s even more upset about the fact that her family might be moving. 
I asked Eliza questions about her book and her writing process to share, marking Teenage Lexicon a stop on her blog tour.


Dawn Chandler is a middle grade novel. What made you decide…