It was brilliant. I want to speak in capitals and use copious exclamation points, but I won't - because I want to be taken seriously, here, not like a cheerleader with anxiety.
I am very lucky to have writergirl friends, ones with creative capacities that absolutely blow me away. So this book: I can't tell you its title, because it doesn't exactly have one yet, and I shouldn't tell you the author's name, but let's just call her Emily (because there are only about forty-five million Emilys* running around these days, and also, that's her name) but I can tell you that it has just the right amount of magic to snatch me in. It has funny dialog (internal and out-loud) and great characters, and a hint of romance, and is written with a sense of beauty and wonder that you only achieve by being a woman of grace.
It is such a fine middle-grade novel, in fact, that were I in any position to do so, I would publish it myself. **
Here's the fun part. I met author Emily*** a year ago, and had my first taste of this story then. Over the past year, I have read several versions. Through these versions and revisions, I have watched her characters change (a lot of change) and her prose tighten up and her plot deepen.
I have noticed what questions she asks, and how much she knows about the characters that she doesn't put into the story. It has been a great learning experience for me to see how she works her revisions, sometimes taking into account changes suggested (by me and some other fine, fine readers), and sometimes not, just keeping to her vision. In all the things I've learned about writing over the past year, this has been a huge, fun part. I'm learning how to be a writer by subjecting myself to really good writers. And that is so much fun.
So, thanks, secret writergirl friend, who may or may not answer to the name Emily. You've given me a great gift in this story, and I can't wait for someone way more significant than me to validate you with a fat contract...
***Far as you know.