I’m thrilled to announce that my young adult hockey novel Face-Off is now available in multiple e-book formats, as well as in a brand new $7.99 paperback edition. Face-Off is special to me as I wrote this book when I was 16 years old, scribbling in high school study halls and then going home to type up my notes on an electric typewriter. I submitted it into a contest and it won, leading to a publishing contract when I was an 18-year-old college freshman. Its success far exceeded my expectations. It was listed in Best Books for Young Teen Readers: Grades 7-10 and the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Junior Education Program placed Face-Off on its recommended reading list.
I had a blast writing this book, about teenage twin brothers battling it out on the ice and off. I got into hockey during the 1988 Olympics, worshiping players like Craig Janney, Brian Leetch and Bob Joyce. Once the Olympics ended, I quickly became a diehard Boston Bruins fan. I’d buy Hockey Digest and Hockey Illustrated on the newstand, and read biographies of retired players such as Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito. Posters of Cam Neely, Ray Bourque and Wayne Gretzky graced my walls. Boys in my classes chuckled when they saw me wearing a Bruins jersey to school, not believing this shy, non-athletic girl knew anything about hockey. I loved watching their jaws drop when I started spouting off players and stats.
An avid reader, I yearned to read a fiction novel about hockey, but all I found were biographies of 1970s hockey players. I’d been writing stories for years and started toying with the idea of creating my own hockey-themed novel. Having grown up as an only child, I was always fascinated by my friends with siblings. I found myself creating the McKendrick family – bickering twin brothers Brad and T.J., their kid brothers Chris and Jory, and their tense parents, who are on the verge of a separation. I wrote the book as entertainment for myself, as it was pure fun to create. One of my best friends, Joanne, would read my handwritten pages in study hall. Every day, she’d say, “Got any more pages?” Although I’d never spent much time around boys, somehow I pulled off telling the story from Brad and T.J.’s viewpoints. They were cool and athletic, but not perfect. I had a soft spot for Brad – he was sort of my alter ego. Brad shared my love of writing, my competitiveness, and my hotheadedness. He was also caring, especially toward his younger brothers. Once you got to know Brad, he had qualities you wouldn’t expect, like I did.
Over the years, I received tons of hand-written fan letters from kids from ages 9-16. Many wrote to me as a school project – word got around in Michigan that I wrote back! You can read snippets of these fan letters here. Eventually, the book went out of print. And I kept writing, spurred on by this early success. With technologies such as Kindle and Nook bringing so many opportunities for authors, I decided to publish an e-book edition and a new paperback for today’s generation of kids. (or adults who’d like to revisit their high school years.) About ninety-five percent of it is the same as the original, except I deleted some outdated references to TV shows, retired hockey players, and rock groups.
Face-Off is great for reluctant readers, as well as proficient readers, both boys and girls. If you know anyone with kids ages 9-16 – kids who love to read or dislike reading – please do me a favor and share this link. If you have kids in that age group on your holiday shopping list and you buy them the book, e-mail me through my contact page and I’ll send you some signed, personalized bookplate stickers to make the gift extra special. You can buy the paperback via Amazon, B&N, or through the publisher, and if you’re placing a bulk order, check out my group orders page. The e-book editions are at the following retailers:
iPhone, iPad or iPod touch
I had such fun rereading and revising this book for its new editions. I think Face-Off is a good book to get kids reading and I’m pretty sure they’ll love it. I hope you’ll help me to spread the word and help kids to discover this book.