A novel for tweens about friendship, family drama and hope.
Twelve-year-old Easter Ann Peters has a plan to make seventh grade awesome: Operation Cool. She’s determined to erase years of being known as the quiet, straight-A student who can’t think of a decent comeback to a bully she calls Horse Girl. When the confident new girl, Wreni, becomes her long-needed best friend, Easter lets her personality shine. The coolest guy in school takes a sudden interest. But as tough times at school fade away, so does a happy life at home. Mom is drinking, and Easter works double-overtime to keep their secret in the tiny lakeside town. Operation Cool derails. Fast. Can Easter discover the solution in time? Or will seventh grade be her worst year yet?
Nice things others are saying about it:
Finalist, 2012 Book of the Year Award in juvenile fiction, ForeWord Reviews
“…belongs on the shelf of every school counselor in America.” – Betty Ford Institute
“A sensitive look at how alcoholism affects the entire family, especially the children. A message of hope and the possibility of healing makes this a very powerful read.”- Jerry Moe, National Director of Children’s Programs, Betty Ford Center
“Readers will fall in love with Easter—capable, honest and upbeat—as she navigates the rough waters of friendship and family drama in this heartfelt, debut novel.” – Karen Day, author of Tall Tales and A Million Miles from Boston
“Debut author Jody Lamb nails the seventh-grade mentality in her funny, loving ode to an outcast. Cliques, clothing, and other everyday discomforts form the backdrop for her irresistible heroine’s larger trouble: an alcoholic mother. Enter a stunning new best friend and, with her, Easter’s newfound confidence to just be herself.” – ForeWord magazine (spring 2013)
Title: Easter Ann Peters’ Operation Cool
Author: Jody Lamb
Genre: Middle-grade fiction
Distribution: Ingram Book Company
Cover Image: Available at www.JodyLamb.com/media
Price: $7.99 USD
Publication Date: November 6, 2012
Short Summary: Twelve-year-old Easter Ann Peters’ Operation Cool, a plan to make her seventh grade year awesome, is derailed as she copes with her mother’s alcoholism in their tiny lakeside town.
The story behind the story
The publication of this novel is a tremendous dream come true for me. Agents and publishers rejected this novel 30 times and I feared I’d never be able to share it with kids. Finally, a publisher came along who believed in the story and in me. Alcoholism is a major problem in my family and growing up, I thought it was unique to my family. As an adult, I discovered how common it is and I was disappointed in the lack of contemporary, effective books on the subject. Millions of kids are coping with the destructive effects of loved ones’ alcoholism and they believe they are alone because it remains a family secret. I wrote a realistic story to spark discussion, awareness and hope.
Alcoholism is more common than people realize because it remains a secret in most families. Researchers estimate that 10 to 25 percent of American kids live with at least one parent who abuses alcohol. In some other countries, this figure is estimated to be higher. The effects are extremely destructive. Many of these young people live in total chaos with little stability or predictability. If they don’t get help, they may develop major behavioral and emotional problems that will rob them of happy lives. They’re more likely to fail at school, suffer from depression and increased anxiety and later develop alcohol and other drug addictions. Of course, the most disturbing fact is that kids who live with an alcoholic parent are much more likely to experience abuse.
I hope that young people will enjoy getting to know the Easter character and perhaps identify with her struggles at school and at home. I hope they’re moved by her determination and hope.
For readers with alcoholics in their lives, I hope that they’re reminded that they are not alone and that they’re inspired by Easter’s discovery of the solution to improve her life situation. For readers who do not have alcoholics in their lives, I hope they’ll gain a more solid understanding of what alcoholism is, how it affects others and sensitivity to what their classmates, teammates and neighbors may be coping with at home.
This novel is the first of many for me. I’m currently writing non-fiction for kids about coping when loved ones are addicted to alcohol or other drugs. I intend to find a way to provide these at no cost to kids. My first young adult novel is also in progress.
If you read this story and believe kids may benefit from it, I would appreciate, from the bottom of my heart, your help in spreading the word about it.