Marcia Strykowski

Amy’s Choice

AmyChoice_Front - smallerAvailable Nov. 1, 2014 from Luminis Books. Amy’s freshman year starts with a new best friend, Cat, and a newfound confidence. But she misses her crush, Craig, who has gone to live with his aunt in Boston. Craig has promised to write, and Amy checks the mail daily, but to no avail. There are new adventures, even so. Cat’s brother, Ricky, seems interested in Amy, but is she interested in him? And a new friendship with Finn, the lighthouse keeper, who Amy discovers is a talented artist, keeps Amy and Cat busy as they arrange for him to exhibit his work. But things get complicated when Craig returns from Boston and Finn is accused of arson. There are more questions than answers for Amy as life becomes as turbulent as the cold and stormy ocean of her coastal Maine town. Ideal for preteens, this novel is the sequel to the critically acclaimed Call Me Amy and touches upon issues of friendship, boyfriend troubles, and the power of believing in oneself. Ages 9-14.

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“I enjoyed Amy’s Choice just as much, if not more, than Call Me Amy. Although Strykowski’s second book has the same timeless, wholesome feel as the first, Amy has evolved as she struggles with more mature situations. Many readers will identify with her dilemma of being drawn to Craig, the popular, handsome boy, while also appreciating Ricky, the more studious, serious brother of her best friend, Cat. Another adult problem which Amy must deal with is the trial of her artist friend Finn who is accused of arson. Even though she has a good idea of how the fire actually started, she does not voice her suspicions without proof, letting the facts emerge at the trial. These and many other events in the story provide great conversation starters for parent/child discussions. The 1970s pop-culture references are fun and give the reader a real feel for this time period, and the small, coastal Maine town of Port Wells is the perfect backdrop for this narrative. I look forward to reading about how Amy meets more challenges in her future.” Patty Falconer, Youth Services Librarian

“It’s 1973, and the raciest thing that seems to be happening in Amy’s small coastal Maine town is some illicit teen cigarette smoking. Craig, for whom she has been entertaining romantic feelings, is away, and Cat and her somewhat nerdy older brother Ricky have recently moved to Port Wells. Amy and Cat befriend Finn, a retired lighthouse keeper and budding artist. When a shed catches fire, he’s blamed, but Amy suspects the two girls who have always relentlessly bullied her. After Craig returns to town, she must decide whether to accompany him or Ricky to the high school dance, even as she stands up to the bullies to keep Finn out of jail. Calm, pleasant, decidedly “clean”….” Kirkus Reviews

“For those readers who met this amazing cast of characters in Call Me Amy, you will be thrilled with this follow-up. For those readers who have not yet met the cast, enjoyed this amazing locale, and enjoyed writing that was both intelligent and fun, then you have until October to read the first, so that you can dive head-first into the second. This author is one of those rare gems who not only loves to write, but the library is a part of her life, and the reader can most certainly tell. The characters of Amy, Finn, Cat, Ricky and so on, are believable and unforgettable, which makes this a true ‘Coming of Age’ story, but with entertainment, fun, friendship, and even a mystery that must be solved.” Feathered Quill Book Reviews

“Call Me Amy (2013) readers may recall our shy heroine fighting off bullies with subtle grace and how she defended others in need. This time Amy takes Finn under her protective wing—an eccentric former lighthouse keeper and talented artist in their early 1970s Maine coastal town, who needs a little more kindness from others. With new friend Cat in tow, Amy helps to arrange an art show for Finn’s paintings and, more important, stands by him when he is wrongly accused of arson. With each step outside her comfort zone, Amy suffers from nerves and self-doubt. Will Craig from last year want to resume their friendship? Will the town turn on Finn and believe the arson rumors? And yet with each risk Amy takes, her confidence grows. A messagey, feel-good story to be sure (make good choices, stand up to the crowd, help the underdog), but there is a unique charm here, too, and a quiet affirmation that what teens do matters.” Booklist Reviews

“Amy is beginning her freshman year of high school in the fall of 1973. She spent her summer working in the town’s new public library. Her love interest, Craig, moves to Boston and Amy is worried about starting school again. Then she meets Cat and her brother Ricky. Cat works with Amy at the library, helping put new donations into the collection and starting a storytime program. The girls meet Finn, the lighthouse keeper, who paints landscapes of the ocean and the island. When a fire breaks out in the woodshed behind the library, Finn is blamed. Amy knows he didn’t do it, but she can’t prove it. Then Craig comes back and Amy doesn’t know how she feels about him or about Ricky when they both ask her to the upcoming fall dance. This companion novel picks up a few weeks after the events in Call Me Amy (Luminis, 2013) and continues Amy’s story. This is a gentle read with the most controversial issue being underage smoking. All the issues addressed here are wrapped up by the end of the novel and Amy is happy with her choices” School Library Journal

“Amy’s Choice depicts the satisfying tale of love, hope, friendship, and life choices. …unforgettable characters throughout the story, leaving the readers with a sweet-natured feeling of the power of believing in one’s self.” San Francisco Book Review

“Amy’s voice in the novel is bang-on brilliant. Strykowski has established herself as a stronghold in Children’s Lit.” Jorie Loves a Story

“A great read that will appeal to readers of any age, I think the characters are relatable and endearing. A fantastic tale of friendship with plenty of meaning, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read from start to finish.” Roxie’s Reviews

“The book is filled with fun 70’s pop culture references. Life is very different in this generation and it is nice to have a bit of a travel back in time. The prose flows seamlessly and sometimes you have to pinch yourself to remember that you’re in 2014, not in the 70’s in the world of Amy! Great read.” Little Miss Trainwreck

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