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Release Date: April, 2013 | Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Genre: contemporary, realism, writing, family| Pages: 320

Hi readers! I have something fabulous and different for today’s MMGM!  Debut author Nancy J Cavanaugh has stopped by to share a little bit of her creative process! As a writer myself, I’ve always curious as to what sparks other writer’s imaginations, and if perhaps those ways might spark some of my own creativity!

I was graciously provided a copy for review from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. I was not compensated in any way for my review (cross my heart) nor did I promise a good rating. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine.

Summary

Middle grader Ratchet just wants to be a normal kid with some normal friends. But being home schooled by her mechanic father sort of gets in the way of normalcy. Especially since most of her homework time is spent out in the garage playing with ratchets.
This time around, though, is going to be different. Ratchet is armed with a brand new notebook and a year full of writing assignments.
Best of all, she’s got a secret plan for change.

Tear the Notebook – Or How Nancy Gets Creative

creativehobbiesMy character Ratchet is good with her tools, but my preference is a crochet hook, a spatula, or my scrapbooking/card making supplies.  My hobbies help me tap into my creative self.  There’s nothing like the process of creating something out of nothing to get the creative juices flowing.

Artistsway

The book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is one of my favorite resources for tapping into my creative life.  Morning pages (daily freewriting) and artist dates (going on a creative outing all by yourself) are two examples of Cameron’s assignments for the creative soul.  I’ve read The Artist’s Way several times; and yet, every time I read it, I always find new ways to stretch my creative self.

creativitywalkAnd then there is absorbing the most creative energy of all, and that is spending time soaking in the outdoors.  Walking is one of my favorite ways to stay fit, but it doesn’t just keep me physically fit, it also keeps me creatively fit.  The rhythm of walking and the beauty of creation around me are so inspiring.

5 Reasons Why This Book is Marvelous!

  1. The layout of This Journal Belongs to Ratchet is so different! I actually felt as if I was reading a middle grader’s journal…and so I times I wanted to put it down for interrupting her privacy! Every page is filled with Ratchet’s handwriting, and doodles, and a writing prompt–so readers are learning different forms of writing without even realizing it while also getting to know Ratchet a little bit better.
  2. Even though I wanted to put the book down and let Ratchet have her “secrets,” I never could because I connected with her so much. She is a beautiful, wonderful, round, and full character. Nancy has carefully crafted not only Ratchet’s personality but her voice. Reader’s will have no trouble believing in this middle grade heroine, falling in love with her, or wanting to be her friend.
  3. The plot was one I did not see coming! Granted, there were times I thought I could guess what was going to happen, and I did once, but it in no way hindered the story. I love what develops between Ratchet and her Father, and how by the end she comes to the realization of what is important in life.
  4. Ratchet makes beautiful discoveries throughout the story, and I’m a firm believer it is because of her writing. Something about writing–about connecting to the world through our words–helps us to see things differently. Ratchet starts out with a simple goal, to change, but as she writes and explores, her goal becomes more of a grand quest that leads to to discoveries she never dreamed of.
  5. I’m back to #1 readers. I absolutely LOVE that this is a journal book in the true form of a journal. As I mentioned, Cavanaugh includes writing prompts at the top of each entry, and the writer/teacher in me is giddy over those because readers will read the prompt, discover a form of writing, and then see it played out through Ratchet. I am already thinking about how I can use this book in my classroom or for a summer library program–encouraging kids to follow along and write with Ratchet, making discoveries and journeying on quests. This is a book that is endless with possibilities and a story that is timeless. Readers will be talking about Ratchet as if she’s their best friend and writing partner for years to come!

CN-007Extra! Extra! Write all about it! This book is fabulous!

Book Talk: Have you discovered This Journal belongs to Ratchet yet? It’s one of those book that you pick up and just want to finish in one day! What would you write about if you had a year of writing prompts?

Hopeful reading!

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