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Frances O’Roark Dowell Books In Order

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Publication Order of Phineas L. MacGuire Books

Publication Order of Sam the Man Books

Sam the Man & the Chicken Plan (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sam the Manthe Rutabaga Plan (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sam the Man & the Dragon Van Plan (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sam the Manthe Secret Detective Club Plan (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sam the Man & the Cell Phone Plan (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of The Secret Language of Girls Books

The Secret Language of Girls (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Kind of Friends We Used to Be (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Sound of Your Voice, Only Really Far Away (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Dovey Coe (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Where I'd Like to Be (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Chicken Boy (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Shooting the Moon (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Falling In (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ten Miles Past Normal (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Second Life of Abigail Walker (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Anybody Shining (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Trouble the Water (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Birds in the Air (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Class (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
How to Build a Story... Or, the Big What If (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hazard (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Margaret Goes Modern (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon

Frances O’Roark Dowell is a young adult romance, general fiction, and children’s fiction novelist from North Carolina.

The author was born in 1964 in Berlin Germany and lived in Europe for many years, given that her father was a lawyer with the United States Army while she was growing up.

Growing up, Frances got used to moving a lot. By the time she was leaving home to go to college, she had lived in many places from Killeen, Texas, Charlottesville, Virginia, Bad Kreuznach, Germany, Springfield, Virginia, and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Frances believes her ability to converse with just about anyone is a survival skill she developed as an Army brat, as she had to change schools so often.

Since Frances’s grandfather was an officer in the army for years, she finds some of the inspiration for her novels from military themes.

Given that she made use of military themes in her novel, she was a guest speaker at the Vietnam War exhibit in 2017, where she spoke about her life growing up in a military family.

Following her graduation from high school, Frances O’Roark Dowell moved to North Carolina’s Winston Salem where she went to Wake Forest University and got her bachelor’s degree in English.

In college, she for a time thought of becoming a disc jockey but thought better of it. She would then go to the Amherst-based University of Massachusetts, where she graduated with a Fine Arts master’s degree.
Throughout graduate school and college, she used to think of herself as a poet and never as a fiction author. She started penning poetry when she was still a teen and following college, she got a creative writing MFA in poetry.
It was only after she began reading her favorite childhood books such as “The Great Brain,” “The Changeling,” and “Harriet the Spy” books that she began thinking of becoming a fiction author.

After she was done with graduate school, she moved back home to North Carolina. Given her deep family roots in the southern states, she has come to deem herself a Southerner.
She currently makes her home in central North Carolina where she lives with her husband two kids and Travis their dog.

Before she became a fiction author, she first created an arts magazine targeted at girls who wanted to become artists and writers.

Frances O’Roark Dowell’s “Dream/Girl” was designed to offer an alternative to the likes of “YM” and “Seventeen,” which had a very narrow view of what girls can be and what they can do.
Frances printed 200 copies of the debut issue of her novel and gave them out to friends. It soon came to the attention of magazine and newspaper reviewers.

It was not long before she found an enthusiastic audience with librarians and parents who scrambled to stock up on a publication that did not underestimate 9-14-year-old girls.
A few months later, she sold thousands of copies and had thousands of subscribers all over the United States.

After achieving much success publishing her magazine, Frances O’Roark Dowell decided to try her hand at fiction writing and began with children’s fiction. She chose to start in this genre as she had always had a soft spot for fiction for young people.
While she never achieved much success with her first attempt, she published “Dover Coe” her debut in 2000 to much critical acclaim. The novel also went on to win the Wiliam Allen White Children’s Book Award and the Edgar Allan Poe Award.

Frances O’Roark Dowell’s novel “The Secret Language of Girls” tells the story of Marilyn and Kate who have been friends ever since they were in kindergarten. However, their friendship faces some challenges while they are in the sixth grade.
Marilyn changes the spelling of her name to Marilyn from Marylin, hates her toes, feels Kate needs to grow up, and cares a lot about what others think of her.

Kate likes to write, loves playing basketball, and has a preference for reading over TV watching and does not understand the quest for popularity.

When a 7th-grade girl named Fallnery moves into their neighborhood, Marilyn and Kate’s relationship is tested even further. But things become even worse when Marilyn joins the cheerleaders which means they now hand in different social circles.
When some girls decide to play a practical joke for Kate, she gets a warning from Marilyn even though they have recently drifted apart. Just what will happen between these two former best friends who have come to detest what the other has become?
With a good understanding of Middle School girls’ lives, it is an interesting work that is simply unputdownable.

Frances O’Roark’s novel “The Kind of Friends We Used to Be” continues to follow Marylin and Kate who had once been best friends forever but are no longer so.

But this year, the two girls intend to get back together even if they do not know how. Even as they try to fix their broken relationship, they realize that they are getting more unalike with each passing day.
It would be easier if Kate would listen to fashion advice from Marylin and get rid of her big black combat boots and go for ballet flats.

However, Kate is not interested in being more feminine as she wants to write her own songs and learn guitar, which is the exact opposite of the cheerleaders from middle school.
Maybe things would also be easier if Marylin stuck up for herself and not let Mazie, the mean cheerleader bully her into judging anyone who is just a little different.

It is an incredibly insightful, realistic, and funny work in which the author explores the shifting terrain of middle school relationships.

Frances O’Roark’s “The Sound of Your Voice Only Really Far Away” is the last of the series in which Kate and Marylin discover that boys can be just as complicated as friendship.

Marylin is well aware that she has obligations as a middle school cheerleader. She has to ensure her manicure was in tip-top shape, befriend the right people, and smile while walking down the hall.

However, she is shocked to learn that she is not allowed to like some people such as the student body president Benjamin. She thinks she can convince her fellow cheerleaders to let her see Benjamin by telling them it is in their own interest.
She says she is using him to get new cheerleading uniforms. Kate believes the cheerleaders are ludicrous as she will never let anyone dictate who she can and cannot like.
She has recently been spending a lot of time with Matthew Holler but even someone that plays only to the sound of her own strings can sometimes play the wrong notes.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Frances O’Roark Dowell

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