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Maria Padian Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Brett McCarthy (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Jersey Tomatoes are the Best (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Out of Nowhere (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Wrecked (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
How to Build a Heart (2020) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Maria Padian is a bestselling and award-winning young adult fiction author from Maine though she was born in New York. She loves to call herself a passionate bookworm and has a huge stack of books on her night table that she reads and rereads whenever she has the time. Before she became a full-time author, she worked a variety of jobs that included as a broadcast journalist, essayist and freelance author. Her debut fiction work was the young adult novel “Brett McCarthy” that was a YALSA and ALA award-winning novel. The novel also won the Maine Lupine Honor Award and the Maine Literary Award.

Born in New York City to an immigrant Spanish mother and an immigrant Irish father, it was not until she was about five that she learned to speak English. It was about this time that her family moved to the New Jersey countryside, where they found themselves very isolated given that New Jersey was not very diverse then. Nonetheless, they moved into a beautiful country house that was very different from what they were used to. Instead of the sirens and car horns of New York at night, all she heard were crickets. Together with her brother, they would wander in the woods behind their house for hours and she asserts that she had a very fulfilling childhood. Given that they lived in the country and had few children in their neighborhood to play with, they read a lot of books. Padian was a bookworm though she asserts that this was probably because her mother told her that she could get any book she wanted but not any toy. She went wild checking off all the book order forms she got from school and her mother obliged and bought them for her. During this time, walking into a bookstore was like being set loose in a candy store as she could get any books she wanted. Maria got lost in the magic of storytelling and books and soon started thinking of a career as a professional author.

After graduating from high school, Maria Padian went to Middlebury College in Vermont. It was a college out in the country surrounded by farms and a lot of snow during the winter but she loved it. It was the place that shaped her into the writer she would later become. In her junior year at college, she got into an exchange program and had the privilege of studying in Oxford, England at St Hugh’s College. She also attended several writer conferences between her junior and senior years. It was at these conferences that she got a first-hand taste of the brutal and honest feedback about her manuscript from writers such as Stanley Elkin. She still remembers Robert Pack the director of “Bread Loaf” who told her that she had to be tough to handle the criticism, the rejection, and the toughness to believe in oneself. Once she was done with Middlebury, she went to The University of Virginia from where she got her Masters and, in the process, met her future husband Conrad Schneider. She then got a job as a news broadcaster and reporter in a Charlottesville radio station known as WWWV. Over the following years, she lived in Washington D.C. Georgia and Atlanta working in new reporting and then as press secretary for a congressman. By 1991, the family decided to move to Brunswick, Maine as they had grown tired of city life and the corporate lifestyle. She quit her job and became a full-time author and homemaker. When she is not writing she has a very active life as together with her husband they often travel, play sports or go skiing, camping, kayaking, and biking.

Maria Padian’s debut novel “Brett McCarthy: Work In Progress tells the story of Brett McCarthy. She lives for soccer, vocabulary words and her grandmother Nonna that is almost a fixture in her life. But Brett has one problem – she is very opinionated and can never seem to keep her thoughts to herself. She has an obsession with the moment her life had changed. She had gone from being a good student much beloved by the teachers and her best friend Diane to getting suspended twice and ending up without any friends. Her world has been turned upside down and she cannot find any place where she belongs. She does not know how to right the wrongs she has done though she knows that it is her big mouth that has done her in. Brett has a funny and fresh voice that keeps readers rooting for her, groaning in empathy, laughing at her plight as things worsen with each passing day.

“Jersey Tomatoes are the Best” by Maria Padian is a heartbreaking and hilarious story of two teenage girls whose lives are changed one summer. Both Eva and Henry are excellent athletes that were born and raised in New Jersey. Eva is a graceful ballerina while Henry is one of the best tennis players in school. In the summer right before they are to become juniors, opportunity comes knocking and they welcome it with both arms. Eva grabs the chance to improve herself by training to become a lighter, more graceful and rounded ballerina while Henry is looking for a chance to develop her tennis and get away from an overly strict father. Eva soon becomes obsessed with physical perfection and it is not long before she is borderline anorexic. Issues with her health are now threatening to derail what was once a promising career. But through their troubles, they know that they need to stand with each other and that nothing beats tomatoes from Jersey.

“Out of Nowhere” is the story of Tom Bouchard, the star and captain of the Maquoit High School soccer team. Given his stature and popularity, he dates one of the most popular and prettiest girls in the class and will have his pick of colleges when that time comes. But 9/11 comes along and changes life in the small idyllic town in rural Maine. Enniston is now ground zero for Somali refugees as it has been made the center for secondary migration. The refugees are running away from a country ravaged by war and hope to find a better life in the small town in Maine. Tom thinks nothing of the Somalis that have joined his school until Saeed and four others join the soccer team. Saaed comes from nowhere to become an invaluable member of the team as he takes impossible shots and suddenly the team is dominating and winning. But then questions arise on the eligibility of Saeed to be granted asylum and without knowing, Tom makes a big mistake that leaves him grappling with a culture he can never hope to understand. Saeed and his family had come from nowhere and now that they are gone, he is going nowhere too unless he does something drastic.

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