First Friday – Five Favorite Things – Debut Novel Day

November 7, 2014 | Comment

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by Dave Amaditz and 
Marcy Collier


Welcome to November’s version of – First Friday – Five Favorite Things – Debut
Novel Day
. In this monthly series, we ask five simple questions about a
debut novel that will hopefully entice anyone reading this post to pick up the
novel and read it themselves, and/or give them at a glance some insight into
the author’s writing style and voice as well as how some of the characters
might think or act. We do this by presenting, first, answers to our Five Favorite Things, followed by the
author’s answers in a follow-up post.

This month we’re pleased to highlight debut YA novelist,
Linda Phillips and her novel, Crazy,
a novel in verse. Laura, the main character, is worried she’s destined to
suffer from the same mental illness as her mother. You’ll love reading to find
out if, and how she copes with the problem.

1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to
the main character’s development and/or growth?

Dave – This particular section
comes from later in the book, and even though I don’t think I’m giving the
story away, I will label it as a “spoiler alert” –  just in case. Laura has gone to see the
family doctor to determine if in fact her mother’s mental illness is

I thank him,
even give him a hug,
and walk slowly out to the car.
The image of a shot put
comes to mind again,
and I realize the weight
is out of my hands.
I have no control over it now,
and the farther away it lands
the better.

Marcy – This passage comes a
little later in the book when Laura’s dad shares with her poems that her mother
sent to him long ago. Laura begins to realize that her mother wasn’t always
the way she is now.

Now I’m confused, because I always 
thought he was the one who 
sent the poems to her, 

but maybe it was the other way 
around. Anyway, I get 
embarrassed when he starts 
showing them to me 
because some of them are
downright mushy, 

even racy and passionate, 
I’m thinking he’s probably 
made some
mistake and gotten 

an old girlfriend’s stuff 
mixed up with my mother’s stuff 
because this certainly isn’t the mother 
I know. 
If this is my “old” mother, 
want to know more about her, 

I already know more than I want to know 
about this
“new” mother.

2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?

Dave – This particular section comes
about three quarters of the way through the story. Laura’s mother is in the
midst of a breakdown. She’s broken china and has blood all over herself. Laura
has had to telephone the police.

The ambulance and the police get there as we pull up.
Someone makes me stay in the car,
makes me drink something, holds my hand,
tells me it’s going to be all right,
tries to turn my head when
they take her away.

Marcy – I won’t go into details so
as not to spoil it, but everyone has that one particular friend who has an
opinion about everything and is not afraid to share it. In Laura’s life, Beth
is that friend. Laura tells Beth about the date she had with Dennis.

Stunned silence. 
For once, 
Beth has nothing 
to say.

3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?

Dave – My favorite secondary
character is Dennis. I love the lingo he uses – ripped straight from the 1960s.
Following is an example:

“So Laura, babe, you look like glum with a capital G.”

Plus, with lines like the one that
follows, it’s easy to see Dennis genuinely cares.

“Laura,” he says, almost shouting. “For God’s
sake, you look like death warmed over, you’re angry
at the world, you’ve all but abandoned
the one thing that makes you happiest,
and you really ought to give up lying,
because you don’t do it very well.”
Marcy –  Mrs. Boucher is my favorite secondary
character. Laura visits an art gallery to shop for a present for her mother.
When she realizes she can’t afford anything, Mrs. Boucher takes her back to
check out the sale items in the back of the store. When Laura admits she doesn’t
have enough money, Mrs. Boucher tells Laura she can pay her back when she gets
the rest of the money. The two end up becoming friends and Laura finds refuge
in the back of Mrs. Boucher’s shop while they both create art.

Mrs. Boucher leans back, 
sighs deeply, 
takes both my hands in hers 
and says, “Well, Laura, 
it looks like we are in this 
together. Do you know why?”

“No…no, I really don’t,” I say, 
giving her a completely honest

and a very blank stare.

“Well it sounds like 
we both have work to do, 
and we can do it right
here in 

my shop, together.”

4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?

Dave – There were quite a few
for me to choose from, but I think this particular section describes
particularly well what it is that Laura has to endure on a day-to-day basis
while living at home with her mother.

she sits and stares,
rocks and rocks the devil
out of the green rocker,
smokes and stares
stares and paces
paces and mutters
and stares and stares
out those blank eyes through that thick cloud of smoke,
eyes that shut you out of her secret world,
and sometimes
when you do break through,
you know,
you just know,
that she left part of herself on the other side of sanity
and she’s trying to remember
where she was when she got lost.
Marcy – I love the way Dennis is ever so subtly trying to get through
to Laura. In this instance, he has broken through the guard she puts up around

Dennis passes me a note: 
“So sorry you
didn’t win, 

but guess you can’t win 
if you don’t try. Have you 
given up?”

Instead of writing back 
I turn fully
around and hiss, 

“Not on your life, Dennis Martin,
 not on your life.”

He flashes his gorgeous smile, and I
smile right back through a deep blush.
5) What is your favorite line of

Dave – This particular line is
taken from early in the novel. I chose this section to again give you a glimpse
into what Laura has to deal with living with her mother. Her mother is in a
manic state, up all hours of the night, painting, painting constantly.    

“Oh, there’s much more where that
came from, Laura, especially since
you suggested I start painting again.
You just wait and see.
No go on back to bed
and don’t you worry. Everything is just fine, honey.
Just fine.”
–  This line said
by Laura’s best friend Beth made me laugh out loud.

“Well,” Beth says dryly, “I’d be throwing up 
too, if I had to
spend an evening with 88 Fingers

and his cheerleading pals. 
Seriously, I can’t

your father will let you go, 
and even if he does, 
you wouldn’t consider
it, would you?’

To read more about Linda Phillip’s debut
YA novel Crazy please go to:

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