Thursday, February 2, 2017

Don't Wait to Read "What for Me" by Caroline Leech!

Wonderful news for young adult readers:

We no longer have to wait to read Scottish author Caroline Leech's new book "Wait for Me"!  It hit the bookshelves yesterday and I'm already captivated by the story, the characters and Leech's vivid descriptions of life on a farm in Scotland in 1945 where the shortage of farm hands (the sons are of course off to war) is shockingly solved by assigning German prisoners of war to work in their place.

We won't easily forget our first meeting of the enemy prisoner the British army truck brings to Lorna's father's farm:

As Lorna began to argue, a prisoner -- had the sergeant called him "Vogel"? -- jumped down from the truck, stumbling as he landed, his back to them.  He quickly righted his balance. Tall and skinny, his dark uniform didn't fit him. The pants were baggy and too short, and the jacket swamped his gaunt frame.  He  had the same haircut as the others, shaved close, and his neck was scrawny and pale. He was just a boy, and it looked as if a puff of wind would blow him away.

But then the boy turned toward them and Lorna could see a high cheekbone and strong jawline. All right, perhaps he was more a man, but still...

Then he faced them full on, and Lorna's irritation was instantly extinguished, her shock catching in her throat.  

Half the boy's face was gone.  No, that wasn't quite right. His face was there, but .....

Praised by her peer authors as "Compelling, moving and beautifully with history, conflict and tension," and "A delicately written love story with a gorgeously evoked setting, an intrepid heroine, and a knee-weakening romance. Not to be missed."

I loved hearing Caroline Leech share with the teachers in our Writing and the Arts seminar how she came to write this story, in this time period, with these characters.  She has generously shared with the students in my Adolescent Literature class the challenge and mystery and fun of writing first lines.

(Should I tell you that the first line of "Wait for Me" is Lorna Anderson was ankle deep in muck and milk.  Yes, you want to keep reading!

The only thing better than reading her writing is to hear Caroline Leech read in her lilting Scottish voice (I actually asked her to repeat something once so I could hear those vowels again!)

If you're lucky enough to be in Houston next week, you can hear that memorable Scottish voice for yourself  on February 7 when Caroline Leech reads from Wait for Me and talks about her writing at Brazos Bookstore.  

Congratulations, Caroline, and to all the young adult readers about to discover what happens when the stalwart Scots meet the German enemy -- at home. 

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