by Erin Harvey, Age 15, USA
Polly Wants to be a Writer is the instructive yet fictional novel of 15-year-old Polly, a budding author. As her aspirations grow, she encounters her literary dragon named Scrum. Although gifted in the art of literature, he will not rest until he tears every one of her ideas to shreds. Polly, with the help of author Ms. Whitford, must learn to train her dragon before the future of every potential author is ripped away from them.
Even though it is intended to be a guide for young authors, the idea is not presented in such a way that will make teens cringe at the thought of reading a nonfictions book. In fact, it is the opposite of your typical guide. This book is written in a creative, enticing fashion that is sure to captivate developing authors. Instead of merely stating the process of writing short stories, the advice is carefully woven into the plot. It helps young writers develop short stories and also presents them with a powerful model of a well-written novel.
One of the best aspects of this novel—aside from the clever conflict—is the metaphor of Scrum the literary dragon. It is a practically poetic way of representing a writer’s inner critic. Ms. Whitford does an excellent job of describing to Polly when and why to use his talents. These pieces of advice can be translated into the lives of everyday authors, and it is difficult to overlook the variety of opportunities this book presents young writers with as they begin to take their writing careers into their own hands.
Ms. Thomas’s novel is the ideal source for young writers. It presents the solution to relatable events such as writer’s block and the challenges of writing a first draft. Much more than an instruction manual, Polly Wants to be a Writer is a novel both informative and enticing to its intended age group. It is a must-read for any aspiring teen authors. Who knows? Maybe one of them will be the next Polly.