How far would you go for a friend? For fans of Alison Gervais’s In 27 Days, and classic girls lit of Louisa May Alcott, LM Montgomery, Eleanor Porter.
Harper Southwood is a teenage girl who can sense when people will get sick—but so what? She can’t predict her best friend’s depression or her mother’s impending health crisis. Being helpful is all Harper ever wanted, but she feels helpless in the face of real adversity. Now, she’s got a chance to summon her courage and use her wits to fight for justice. Laugh and cry along with this cute, high-spirited teen in her astonishing journey of self-discovery, as she learns that compassion and internal strength are her real gifts, her true superpower.
“Bowles . . . clearly understands the world of young adults. Her depiction of Harper—her anxieties and excitability; her inner and outer personas; her heightened sense of the importance of “now”—cannot fail to pull readers into a teen mindset. The story is increasingly dark, yet in the telling it neither wallows nor depresses. Harper is allowed strength in her vulnerability. For all her isolation, it is her empathy that makes her special. There is a message here but not one that is pushed beyond the pale. Bowles writes to engage and to confront yet always seemingly with the intent to uplift. The resulting novel, far from being a leaden treatise on teen suffering, spurns literary pretensions and strives instead to include Harper’s generation of young adults and give this group its due. Girls especially will relate, but there is room here for everyone. A sage, vivacious tale of people set apart and brought together.”
—Kirkus Reviews (a Kirkus recommended review)
“Bowles' writing is lively and fun, yet still grounded and full of depth. . . . This is a wonderful book that cleverly explores some powerful and painful emotions.”
—Victor Catano, best-selling author of Tail & Trouble
“Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes hopeful, always true . . . Down in the Belly of the Whale is Ordinary People for a new generation.”
—Jason Parent, author of What Hides Within and Seeing Evil
Listen to an audio excerpt of Down in the Belly of the Whale.
The Meld, an otherworldly group of six, has been gathered in the past millennium to bestow gifts on our most needy population: adolescents. The six members comprise a yin/yang of deadly behaviors which qualifies their membership—half took lives for noble reasons, half for selfish ones. They completed their circle with Delilah Mackley in 1962 and have since been ‘operating at full strength’ to give a supernatural gift to their chosen charges.
In Book 1, The Meld: Magic Please, the first of the series, the group chooses Colorado sophomore Millie Mahoney.
It’s 2006. The 2001 murder of Millie’s mother and the resultant self-destruction of her father have rendered her a chaotic life, which Millie fights by immersing herself in her great passion—words and their power. The Meld gives her the ability for her words to become deeds—anything she writes comes true. Discovering this gift brings some serious mishaps, and learning how to deal with this sudden supernatural influence is the crux of her story. While she is too smart to bring her mother back to life, (she’s read ‘The Monkey’s Paw’ and seen Pet Sematary) Millie does look for a way to heal her family. Maybe she could catch the loving attention of her “Lobster” Derek Samson while she’s at it.
Anabelle Fleming is starting her first day of high school, but for her it’s a different first day. She’s moved to the small town of Pinewood, Colorado, because her mother, famous writer of thrillers, divorced her father, front man for a monstrously successful rock band. To top it all off, Anabelle hallucinates. She has visions that reflect her anxiety from all these lifestyle changes, plus she sees objects surrounding her friends and family that seem to relate directly to them—butterflies, bubbles, bruise-like auras. Fangs.
Anabelle thinks she’s insane.
All Anabelle wants is an average life with a happy little nuclear family and a normal high school existence, but her visions pull her into intrigue, mystery, and more than a little conflict—finally prompting a discovery that being happy is more about living with what you have than projecting what you wish.