How to Write a Novel


How to Write a Novel

by Melanie Sumner

October 2016

I found How to Write a Novel while browsing one day and it looked too cute to pass up. It turned out to be cute, funny, and heartfelt. Parts were slow and I felt I had to push myself to continue reading at points, but overall it was a good book.

How to Write a Novel is written from the perspective of Aris, a very mature 12.5 year old. She is trying to make money and decides to do so by writing a best-selling novel in 30 days (using the tips from the same titled book). Aris uses a lot of humor to describe her journey writing for a month and all that transpires from break-ups, to failure, to close friends that stick by, and finally to success. It is simple, sweet and heartfelt. Aris, her brother Max, and her mom are struggling to live well and are often helped by their nanny and PMI (positive male influence), Penn. Penn watches the kids, helps around the house, and is an all-around great guy. Aris’ mom is an adjunct English professor who is caring, scatter-brained, and loves helping her students. Aris misses her dad (who died before her younger brother was born) and misses her “betrothed” who has moved from Georgia to Boston. She goes against her mother’s wishes and reads her mom’s detailed, complex journals and knows more than is good for her. Spoiler Ending: After many months Aris’ boyfriend breaks up with her, and by that point she is sad, but ready to move on. Penn and Aris’ mom sort of get together as a couple, but then back off because they’re not ready (much to Aris and Max’s disappointment). Aris’ mom gets laid off for helping a young black man write a defense statement after getting illegally tried and sent to jail for a week because of speeding, but she pulls herself up and decides to help people with decluttering their homes in order to declutter their lives. Aris sends her mom’s journals out to random people who have bought other books from her mom and gets into huge trouble, but in the end, one of the people is an editor who writes back wanting a manuscript. Aris finishes her novel, and that’s the end of the book!

Summing it up: even though it was slow at points, overall How to Write a Novel was funny and sweet and worth the read!

All the best, Abbey


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