Hello and welcome to a special post for
TINY INFINITIES by J.H. Diehl!
I have a character interview for you today and I can't wait for you to learn more about this book. So let's get right to it!
TINY INFINITIESAuthor: J.H. Diehl
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
When thirteen-year-old Alice's dad moves out, leaving her with her depressed mom, Alice does the only thing that feels right: she retreats to her family's old Renaissance tent in the backyard, determined to live there until he comes home. In an attempt to keep at least one part of her summer from changing, Alice focuses on her quest to get her name on her swim team's record board. But summers contain multitudes, and soon Alice meets a new friend, Harriet, whose obsession with the school science fair is equal only to her conviction that Alice's best stroke is backstroke, not freestyle. Most unexpected of all is an unusual babysitting charge, Piper, who is mostly deaf and entirely mute - until Alice hears her speak a word.
Funny and devastatingly honest, this sharply observed depiction of family, friendship, and Alice's determination to prove herself - as a babysitter, as a friend, as a daughter, as a person - rings loud and true.
OWEN PHOEBE. Fifteen, visiting for the summer next door, an aspiring sushi chef; a little too chillax about math last year at school; half-brother to Piper, who is mostly deaf and mute and no one is exactly sure why. She’s four and Alice babysits for her.
HARRIET BARCLAY. Alice’s uber-nerdy friend on the Cherrywood Sharks Swim team; off-the-charts smart, thirteen and tutoring Owen for his math class do-over; kind of obsessed with figuring out an experiment about fireflies for the school science fair.
WHERE: THE CHERRYWOOD POOL SNACK BAR, Cherrywood Community Pool, in a suburb of Maryland close by D.C. Known for excellent curly fries.
WHEN: After the late afternoon summer team swim practice.
WHAT: Snacks are on the table. Curly fries (of course), fruit smoothies, cheese quesadillas.
ALICE: Earth to Harriet, should we really be here?
Harriet (looking at her phone): Why shouldn’t we really be here?
ALICE: Uh, it’s booksandladders.com? Mostly YA, you know? We’re so-called Upper Middle Grade, maybe Cusp of YA?
Harriet (looks up): For one thing, Owen is fifteen. His T-shirts are YA. I mean, “I Am Sushi, You Are Sushi” – YA, right? What does that even mean?
Alice (Blushing, because Owen is her crush, which Harriet doesn’t get): He said, ‘Maybe we are all fish.’
OWEN (walking in, math book under his arm, plus a calculator, tablet, paper, pencil; he is wearing a T-shirt with a toaster on it and a piece of toast popping out of the top). Hey Alice! Hey Harriet, I was hoping you’d go over quadratic equations with me before I take the online quiz. (He sits down, and Alice blushes). I’ve seen TINY INFINITIES called YA some places, by the way. You’re fine, Alice. No worries.
HARRIET: (to Alice) Anybody who’s fifteen or sixteen turned thirteen once. Anybody who’s thirty turned thirteen once. I know you and your dad are always putting things into ridiculous categories. But what’s the exact difference between MG and YA, anyway? Where is the point that MG crosses to YA. You could say the difference is only…
ALICE (interrupting): ‘A tiny infinity.’ Haha - I knew you’d work the book title in here somewhere.
HARRIET: I don’t see why anybody wouldn’t be okay with reading about thirteen, especially your story, since you basically perform a miracle.
OWEN (placing his book and pad of paper in front of Harriet): Could we add a second miracle, me passing tonight’s quiz, after you show me how to do this problem?
ALICE (to Harriet, who is writing down the answer): I thought you said what happened is neuroscience. Anyhow, this is supposed to be an interview. So Harriet, what’s one thing you’d like people to know about you?
HARRIET (looking up, but still writing): To whomever is reading this blog post: Alice is the best friend I ever had.
ALICE (Fake boing-ing a curly fry at her): Who says ‘whomever’? And don’t you mean the only friend…
HARRIET (sliding the math back to Owen): Hey, who filled your tent with fireflies anyway? Who personed the camera at the exceedingly crucial moment?
OWEN (looking puzzled as he reads Harriet’s work): Summer math has reached a crucial moment.
ALICE: Okay, fine. Here’s something about me: I have a friend whose favorite word is ‘exceedingly’. She’s exceedingly odd, but I’m okay with it. I’m glad about it. Whomever, whoever you are – however old - read our book. My book. I don’t agree about the miracle part, or doing it alone. It was all of us, and what happened was magic. The oxymoron kind: real magic.
J.H. Diehl received her MFA from the Iowa WritersWorkshop. TINY INFINITIES, her first middle grade novel, is a Fall 2018 Junior Library Guild Selection. She published short fiction in journals and anthologies, and two picture books, LOON CHASE and THREE LITTLE BEAVERS. Her work has received a Maryland Individual Artist Award and a Copernicus/Michener Award. To learn more about J.H. Diehl, visit her website: https://www.jhdiehl.com/.
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