I met Monique at Dave Wolverton’s (aka David Farland) Writing for Young Adults Workshop about a year ago. Though I write YA military space fantasy, I connected with Monique’s stories because she writes about a 12-year-old girl who loves horses–and I once was a 12-year-old girl who longed to have a horse of my own. I read all of Walter Farley’s “Black Stallion” books, but there were no stories in the library about girls and their horses. Monique’s “Ginnie West” books would’ve been a most welcome addition!
Before long, Tillie seems happier about gaining a dad than a sister. Ginnie suspects that Tillie has turned ‘Operation Secret Sisters’ into a scam called ‘Operation Steal My Dad.’ Things get more complicated when Ginnie stumbles across her real mom’s hidden journals. Ginnie can finally get to know the mother she doesn’t remember and Dad doesn’t talk about.
When Dad discovers she has the journals, he takes them away. Ginnie needs to figure out what the big mystery is before her relationship with her father and her best friend are ruined forever.
She quickly figures out that Toran doesn’t appreciate being rescued by a girl any better than Charlie likes being knocked down by one. When Charlie seeks revenge on Ginnie, Toran sets aside his anger and helps her plot a playback prank at Charlie’s house.
Sadly, Ginnie learns that Charlie has a reason for being a bully when she sees his dad drop him to the floor like a ragdoll with one awful blow to the chest. Realizing he’s a boy in big trouble, Ginnie switches gears and decides to be his ally, even if he won’t let her be his friend.
Twelve year-old Ginnie and her BFF, Tillie, schemed to get Ginnie’s widowed dad to fall in love with Tillie’s divorced mom. It worked. But before they could become ‘for real’ sisters, Ginnie stumbled across her dead mom’s journals. Which was totally awesome sauce… until her dad took them away and won’t tell her why. Now all their plans are starting to unravel.
If that’s not bad enough, Ginnie’s favorite uncle drops the mother of all bombshells and leaves her in a maze of uncertainty. While her head is still spinning from that news, a blast from her late mother’s past shows up and makes Tillie goes nutburgers. Ginnie realizes her best friend has her own agenda and Tillie’s plans to merge their families may not be so innocent.
SIMPLY WEST OF HEAVEN is a contemporary MG novel that follows Ginnie West as she tries to make sense of one too many curve balls tossed her way in the most pivotal summer of her life.
Monique is online at: