I picked this book up at the library when I saw its title, proclaiming it was perfect for my sister. The cover caught my eye so I read the inside, read the back, and I knew it was a book I had to read. After all, what better story for a teenager learning to write, then a story about teenagers learning to write?
Exposition: Upon exploring the area around her new home, Joan, our narrator, happens upon Fox. And such our two main characters are handed to us. What an interesting pair they are.
Fox, who believes her mother turned into such a creature, is large and in charge. When she's out in the woods. At school, she is Sarah, a quiet girl who everyone thinks is a freak. Joan, who was never really interested in boys and makeup, listens to the sounds of her parents' fights and wishes she could fly away.
Rising Action: Joan's adventures in the land of writing start when Fox's sci-fi author dad gives her a notebook. "...use it when you want to write down other stuff...Stuff that happens...Stuff that you're scared of. Stuff that you make up. Sometimes it helps to write stuff down." She falls deeper into writing when she and Fox decide to work together on an entry for a short-story contest. They write a story of two girls, the wild girls.
After seeing the stunning reading of their piece, a woman who calls herself Verla Volante offers them a spot in her exclusive summer creative writing class. Through this class, things are revealed to us about our heroines. The way Joan feels toward her dad, the way Fox longs for a mother. They also learn quite a few things themselves. "A good writer tells the truth by telling lies... Anything that doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And later on you can use it in some story... Pay attention. Notice things and think about what you notice." But not all of it is about writing. Fox learns from her mother why she left. Joan learns that her dad is just like any other villain. "A villain doesn't think he's a villain... You might think he's a villain. But he thinks he's right."
Climax: We could argue over what the climax is though I think Joan may be the only one who really knows. Personally, I believe it is when Joan walks on the stilts with her dad by her side. It's a beautiful moment, one that could leave you feeling the world is a wondrous and awesome place.
Falling Action/Resolution: "I've written one book, and I'll write another. That, Verla says, is what writers do."