HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Novel Concept
Author and Illustrator: Teagan Bentley
Publisher: Do Life Right Inc., 2011
Related website: www.DoLifeRight.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 8-12
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Bentley, Teagan. Novel Concept (published in 2011 by Do Life Right Inc., P. O. Box 61, Sahuarita, AZ 85629). Twelve-year-old Monica Evans, almost thirteen, lives in Tucson, AZ, with her parents. Her mom Cora is an independent publisher, and Monica does a lot of editing work for her. Monica’s best friend is eleven-year-old Julie Stewart, who lives down the street with her mom. Both girls are homeschooled. On Oct. 2, while Monica is eating breakfast, Julie comes in with some news and an idea. A local publisher is having a book writing contest, and the winner’s book will be published. Julie suggests that she and Monica can write a book together and submit it. However, the deadline is Oct. 31, so they have less than a month. Monica’s mom says that if the girls’ book doesn’t win, she will publish it.
Monica and Julie try to think of a subject and decide to write about a girl named Gail who finds that she has a special superpower that is able to control the weather. Monica will take chapter one and each girl is to write every other chapter. However, as the month goes on, other things arise—their friend Olivia’s birthday party, preparing for Halloween, an upcoming dance recital, and getting ready for Monica’s own birthday, and Julie doesn’t always seem to be doing her share of the work. One evening, when the girls are writing together, Julie knocks a glass of water over on her laptop and they lose their latest chapter. Then Monica’s mom has a disagreement with an author and won’t have the money to publish their book if it doesn’t win. Will they be able to finish their “novel concept” in time? And if they do, will it win?
Writing teachers tell budding authors to write about what they know. Author Teagan Bentley is a ten-year-old homeschooled student who lives in Arizona. Her mother, Lisa M. Cottrell-Bentley is an independent publisher and author of the “Wright on Time” series of mysteries. And one of the characters in Monica and Julie’s book is named Teagan. I’m sure that Teagan’s writing skills will develop over time, but this book is an awesome accomplishment for a ten-year-old. But aside from that, it is a well told story that easily captures and holds one’s attention. I especially like the way that a warm, loving family is portrayed. Also, I admire the “can-do, reach-for-the-stars, follow-your-dream” which it promotes. And there is a positive picture of homeschooling presented. In fact, in the epilogue, Monica, who later becomes a model, writes, “Homeschooling had really shown me that I could do anything I wanted, if I just put my mind to it, plus I could change my mind and do many more than just one thing as a career.” Bravo to Teagan Bentley for such a wonderful achievement.