The local young-adult writing scene really is an embarrassment of riches. And if you missed Ann Dee Ellis’ debut This Is What I Did:, you have another chance to see why she belongs in that impressive company in the author’s follow-up Everything is Fine.
Her heroine Mazzy, in the summer before she begins middle school, is facing both typical adolescent turmoil and a whole lot more. With her father away for his job, Mazzy is left alone to deal with her mother’s near-catatonia, and the repercussions of a family tragedy. Ellis employs a staccato rhythm in which thoughts seem to be grabbed as they’re flying through Mazzy’s churning mind. They’re emotional snapshots, potent both in what they reveal explicitly and in what they show Mazzy trying to hide from herself. Most impressively, Ellis conveys the compassion of people around Mazzy even as Mazzy herself seems unable to appreciate what they’re offering her. Join the author to acknowledge her gifts this week.
AnnDee Ellis: Everything is Fine. @ The King’s English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 801- 484-9100, Tuesday, April 28, 7 p.m. KingsEnglish.Booksense.com