I honestly can’t remember now where I met Megan Frazer Blakemore, but I’m so delighted I did. She’s funny, kind and caring and writes a heck of a good book! You’ll want to read her newest, The Firefly Code (Bloomsbury) which is fresh off the presses as of May 3. Her previous novel, The Friendship Riddle (Bloomsbury), is also brand-new in paperback. Get them both!
Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight . . .
When I was a kid, with every first star, every stray eyelash, every time all the numbers on the digital clock were the same, I made the same wish: I wish for something exciting to happen to me.
My wish for a more exciting life was palpable, and was fueled by the books I read. If only I could tesser to other planets and dimensions and save the world. If only I could discover a soldier from our enemy’s army and hide him in my barn (the lack of a barn at my house did little to lessen this fantasy). If only I could spend the night in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I lived these lives with the characters, and ended each book as if I had experienced the adventure. I gobbled through books. Books about people whose lives were quite different than mine, like M.M. Kaye’s The Ordinary Princess or William Steig’s Abel’s Island, and books about kids whose lives mirrored my own, like my long-time favorite Ramona. As satisfied as each reading made me, I remained hungry for my own adventure.
This longing has made its way into my books. In The Friendship Riddle, fantasy-fan Ruth finds a clue hidden inside a book and thinks, “I had not yet had a saga-worthy event in my life. Maybe this could be mine.” In The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill, Hazel so wants to live in the world of her heroine Nancy Drew, that she sees mysteries to solve where none really exist.
My most recent novel, The Firefly Code, features another adventure seeker, Mori Bloom. Mori lives inside a gated Utopia. At night, she sneaks out to the fences and peers toward the city of Boston – she’s heard frightening things about the city and the people who live there, but still she is curious. What she needs, though, is bravery. As it is, she’s too scared to break the rules. That is, until a new girl named Ilana moves in – a girl who is smart, funny, athletic, and maybe a little strange, but that’s okay, because she makes Mori feel braver. Together they decide to explore an abandoned farm house in their neighborhood, but what they find there may change how they feel about each other, themselves, and their community.
When I wrote The Firefly Code, I was thinking of my own childhood, of the way my friends and I played together and rode our bikes for hours, but also, of course, of my longing for adventure. My hope is that this book meets that adventure-seeking impulse in readers today.
Megan Frazer Blakemore is an author for children and young adults. Her middle grade novels include The Firefly Code (Bloomsbury, 2016), The Friendship Riddle (Bloomsbury, 2015), The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill (Bloomsbury, 2014), and The Water Castle (Walker Books for Young Readers, 2013), the latter of which was named Kirkus Best Children’s Book of 2013, a Bank Street College Best Book 2014, a Junior Library Guild Selection, and has been included on numerous state lists. The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill received the Maine Literary Award in 2015 in the Young People’s Literature category. Her books for young adults are Secrets of Truth & Beauty (Disney-Hyperion, 2009) and Very in Pieces (HarperTeen, 2015), which has been named a Junior Library Guild selection. A school librarian, Megan has a B.A. from Columbia University, and an MLS from Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science. She has taught writing to students in elementary through graduate school. She lives in Maine with her family.