Tuesday, April 12, 2016

On Tights and Thyme

What do you do when TWO of your friends have their debut books releasing on the very same day??? 

You spend the day celebrating because, WOW! How cool is THAT???

Congratulations to Brooks Benjamin, author of MY SEVENTH-GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS and to Melanie Conklin, author of COUNTING THYME!

About the books:


Dillion wants to be a dancer. He and his friends have formed a freestyle dance crew called the Dizzee Freekz. But Dillion doesn’t feel like a real dancer since all of his moves come from the martial arts instead of ballet or jazz. When the best studio in the area, Dance-Splosion, announces a contest to win a summer scholarship, Dillion decides to compete. The problem? His dad wants him to play football. And his friends want him to win the scholarship, then use the opportunity to tell the studio how their strict rules strangle creativity. 

At first, Dillion decides to go along with his crew’s plan. After all, creativity is important, right? But as his dancing improves, he begins to wonder if studios aren’t quite so evil as his friends say they are. As the competition gets closer, Dillion realizes he has a chance to win. What is he going to do?


This middle grade novel is as funny as it is heartwarming. Brooks gets the joys and awkwardness of middle school exactly right - from wardrobe malfunctions to a first crush. It’s a fast-paced book that explores the difficulties of going after your dream - and why it’s important to go after them anyway. MY SEVENTH-GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS will make your heart dance as you turn the pages! 

The expression on Brook’s face when MSGLIT arrived on his doorstep proves that dreams ARE worth chasing!


Of course Thyme agrees to move across the country to New York City with her family. Her little brother has been accepted into a new cancer drug trial that might save his life. But leaving her best friend and her grandmother behind is harder than she expected. Thankfully, this move is just temporary. If she can hang in there at her new school and new city until the trial is over, everything will go back to normal in a few months.

But will it? Her father has accepted a full time job in the city and the cancer treatments seem to be working but the trial doesn't have an end date. Thyme is grateful that her brother is improving, and she’d do anything for him to get better, but she can’t help longing for her home in San Diego. Despite her resolve to get home as soon as she can, Thyme is slowly growing roots in New York, too. New friends, new school, and a first crush help her to realize that home can be anywhere joy and love are found.


I loved this book. It is filled with strong and quirky characters - the kind that make me wonder what they’re up to long after I’ve put the book down. There are so many layers to it. On the surface it’s about the sacrifice people make for those they love, and how extra hard that sacrifice is when you’re still a kid. But it’s also about finding your place within your family and friendships. Yes, I did need a few tissues when I read COUNTING THYME, but the tears came from powerful revelations, not deep sadness. I highly recommend this book.

Doesn’t COUNTING THYME look at home on a bookshelf? 

Find these books at your favorite bookseller! 
Congratulations Brooks and Melanie!!! 

About the authors: 

In sixth grade, Brooks Benjamin formed a New Kids on the Block tribute dance crew called the New Kidz. He wasn’t that good at dancing back then. But now he’s got a new crew—his wife and their dog. They live in Tennessee, where he teaches reading and writing and occasionally busts out a few dance moves. He’s still not that good at it. His first novel, MY SEVENTH-GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS will be released by Delacorte/Random House (April 12, 2016).

Brooks is represented by the fantabulous Uwe Stender of TriadaUS Literary. Visit Brooks at http://www.brooksbenjamin.com/

Melanie Conklin is a writer, reader, and all-around lover of words and those who create them. She lives in South Orange, New Jersey with her husband and two small maniacs.
Melanie’s debut novel for middle grade readers is COUNTING THYME (Putnam & Sons, Winter 2016). The novel follows 11-year-old Thyme Owens, who moves from San Diego to New York City after her brother is accepted into a cancer drug trial. There, she discovers that hope can be found in everyday miracles: in first crushes, in budding friendships, in school plays, and in a sister’s love for her little brother. Visit Melanie at http://www.melanieconklin.com/