I bought a copy of your book from you at Tamarack a few weeks ago. I actually specifically went to Tamarack to get a signed copy because being supportive of West Virginia authors is becoming sort of a hobby of mine. I am in graduate school at the moment and with a 13-year old and a 6-year old, I don't have a lot of free time, but I started reading "Abby" yesterday and finished it this evening. I really liked your book--it had many levels to it and I really enjoyed it. I hope that as a teacher you see such deep thought going on with some of your students as what Abby's letters revealed. My 13-year old daughter is miserable in middle school and has been experiencing some of what you described between Abby and Sheila. I would like to think there are more kids like Abby than like Sheila.
This sort of book would be exactly what I would have read at about Abby's age; I saw a lot of myself in what Abby wrote in her letters. I am 35 and have been writing to my pen pal (from Australia) since I was 12. And like Abby said, there is something special about pen and paper letters than email.
Anyway, I enjoyed your book very much and will be looking for the sequel when it comes out. If I can find you on Facebook, I will send a friend request so if you post something about the sequel, I can contact you for a signed copy. ( I am not a Facebook pro--I mainly keep maintain a presence because I have a teenager.) In the meantime, I am going to try to get my daughter interested in your book. She is a reader also, but I have a hard time getting her away from the fantasy stuff--Twilight, Warriors, Percy Jackson, etc.
Oh, one other thing---I think the message you brought about MS was very good. I don't know anyone with MS, but I have known several with neurological disorders like Lupus, fibromyalgia, etc. Your book reminded me of a book that I read to my kids not long ago about a child with a sister with autism. The title was "Al Capone Does My Shirts" and was meaningful like your book.
I am a volunteer for Read Aloud West Virginia--last year I read to 2nd and 3rd graders a couple of times per month on my lunch hour. I have asked for placement in a 1st and a 5th grade class this year. With older kids, I like to read a chapter or two to get them interested in a book and then refer them to the library to get the book (so maybe they will bump into other books that interest them as well). I think your book would be a good selection to do that with if I get to read in a fifth grade class since they will be getting ready for the transition to middle school. I can refer them to Tamarack which is close to the school I am reading in this year. I will also share with my colleagues at the next Raleigh County Read Aloud board meeting.
Thanks for a couple of evenings of interesting reading. Best of luck to you with your book sales!
Terri F. Biley