Thirteen-year-old Caroline has been living with her father on the fringes of Portland in dense forest. No one knows of their existence, and they are living the lives of true innocents, living in tandem with the seasons, living off of the land itself–until one seemingly insignificant slip-up propels them back into the urban world, a world in which they are far less-suited to survive. Junot Diaz said, “My Abandonment is mesmerizing and disturbing, a book as fierce as it is tender, as tender as it is real.” His words are, if anything, an understatement. This is a book you won’t put down until you finish it, a book whose characters you’ll never forget. Reading it you’ll think about Elizabeth Smart and the wilderness of her captivity, perhaps about Opal Whiteley’s nature diaries and certainly of the woods themselves, which have seldom been brought to life in such vivid fashion. But most of all you will be ensnared by the adolescent voice of Caroline and by the world she inhabits–in real time and in her imagination. – Betsy Burton
As locals will know, the Writers@Work Conference is in full swing down at Westminster. The author line-up this year is fantastic: Steve Almond, Dean Bakopoulos, Victoria Redel, Kim Addonizio, Abigail Thomas, Ladette Randolph, Martha Rhodes, Kate Coles, Rick Campbell, and Peter Rock are all teaching workshops, doing readings, and generally dispensing their knowledge and author-glow to all the attendees. For aspiring and practicing writers, there’s nothing in Salt Lake City that’ll get you more bang for your buck, as they say. If we didn’t have to man the book table, we’d be crashing workshops ourselves — maybe next year!