How excited was I when my Twitter author friend, Kristen Kittscher, sent out a note to say that she was going to be in the Seattle-area over Thanksgiving and would anyone be interested in setting up school visits? Let’s say I was pretty excited since I waved my Twitter hand very madly and shouted into cyberspace, “Me!”. On December 2nd, she will be visiting with some of the sixth graders at my oldest daughter, Tall’s middle school and with a classroom of fifth graders at Tall’s former elementary school to talk about the writing process. As a former middle school teacher, she will definitely make that real world connection for the students with their own writing in a fun and entertaining manner. Local folks–you can message me to find out if your child will be in the audience at one of these presentations!
Her debut novel The Wig in the Window, published in June 2013 by HarperCollins, is a super entertaining mystery, perfect for the middle school set. It features smart and strong seventh graders and neighborhood spies, Sophie Young and Grace Yang. I like that the mystery itself was well executed and keeps you guessing up to the end. My own sixth grader, Tall, picked it up just from the jacket description alone and she too loved this tale for both is suspense and spot-on middle school humor.
From the publisher, HarperCollins:
The Wig in the Window
Sophie Young and Grace Yang: best friends, seventh graders, spies.
Equipped with walkie-talkies, binoculars, and candy, the girls sneak out for one of their midnight spy missions expecting a simple stakeout. But what starts as a silly game turns very real when they peek in on Luna Vista’s notoriously bizarre middle-school counselor, Dr. Charlotte Agford (aka Dr. Awkward).
Is there more to Dr. Agford than her tacky clothes and sugary falsetto voice? Sophie and Grace are convinced something sinister lurks below the surface . . . and they just might be right. Soon they’re racing to outsmart the suspicious counselor—all while cracking secret codes, dodging a mysterious blue car, and keeping tabs on strangers with unibrows and Texas twangs.
But the strain of the investigation pushes the girls further apart. Even if Sophie and Grace uncover the truth about Agford in time, will their friendship survive?
Who would I recommend this to? This is great choice for grades 5-8, especially for mystery fans. The girls are middle schoolers, so their humor definitely feels more mature than other middle grade books, but it is well written and feels authentic to me. And a heads up as a parent, there is passing mention of a sex ed class at the middle school and it is implied that an adult in the book may be involved in a murder.
The Interview . . .
To celebrate her visit, I’m profiling the book here and introducing you to these two fabulous “strong girl” characters, Sophie and Grace, through a character interview. And, get this . . . we’re giving away a copy of the The Wig in the Window! A huge thank you to Kristen for providing me with the giveaway copy. To enter, please look to the bottom for the details and entry form. But now, let’s learn more about our protagonists, Sophie and Grace.
Not For Lunch: Howdy, Sophie and Grace! Briefly, tell us a bit about yourselves.
Sophie: My name is Sophie Young and I’m in seventh grade at Luna Vista Middle School in California. Some folks find me short. I prefer petite. While I’m not Chinese, I love all things Chinese.
Grace: Hi! I’m Grace Yang, or Agent Yang to you. My parents are both doctors and I’m homeschooled. I’m tall, bad at playing piano, love fashion, and my Saturdays are spent at Chinese School.
NFL: Favorite TV show?
Sophie: Law and Order
Grace: America’s Most Wanted
NFL: Favorite article of clothing or accessory?
Sophie: My Pumas or my hoodie. I can’t decide.
Grace: My neoprene belt that holds my walkie-talkie, flashlight and other military-grade spy gear.
NFL: Favorite color?
Sophie: Red. The Chinese think the color red brings good luck.
Grace: Black. All the better for spying in, my dear.
NFL: Favorite Book?
Sophie: Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. My grandpa is always sharing quotes from this book. It’s more interesting than it sounds!
Grace: Does Teen Vogue count?
NFL: Favorite food?
Sophie: Curly fries.
Grace: Curly fries!
NFL What is your favorite sport?
Sophie: Tai Chi. “Dragon Emerges from Water” is my best move.
Grace: Does piano count as a sport? It feels like one to me.
NFL: What is your favorite school subject?
Sophie: Currently, it’s not science, which is a problem since my parents are scientists.
Grace: Anything that my teacher Miss Anita doesn’t teach. Wait…she teachers all of them.
NFL: What is your dream job?
Sophie: Professor of Asian Studies at Oxford University.
Grace: FBI agent or maybe a wedding planner. I’d nail either one of those.
NFL: If you could spend the day with someone you admire (living or dead or imaginary), who would you pick?
Sophie: General Sun Tzu.
Grace: Any director of the FBI, past or current.
NFL: What are you saving up your money for?
Sophie: A trip around the world
Grace: Night vision goggles. Definitely.
NFL: If you could take classes on anything, what would it be?
Sophie: Feng Shui
NFL: Thank you girls. It was a pleasure to get to know you both better! Now get back out there and make Luna Vista a safer place!
About the Author. . .
Kristen Kittscher was a neighborhood spy as a child but (allegedly) grew up to be an upstanding citizen, seventh grade English teacher, and writing tutor. A graduate of Brown University, she lives in Pasadena, California with her husband, Kai, and their hyperactive lab mix. The Wig in the Window is her first novel. Check out Kristen’s website!
Don’t miss her at the Small Business Saturday author event at our local and beloved indie, Third Place Books on November 30. She will be a guest book seller at 12 noon.
THANK YOU. THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.