Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Claudia Mills
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Twelve-year-old Autumn is a writer, and she knows someday soon she’ll be a published author. She has so much inspiration for her work, including the dreamy Cameron in her journalism class and Hunter, the best-big-brother-turned-total-jerk. When Hunter mocks one of her most personal pieces, Autumn resolves to get published now. As all her efforts fall through one by one, she has a hard time feeling happy for friends who receive the opportunities she’s craving. But when an essay she’s written about Hunter wins a big contest, Autumn has to decide if publication is more important than the consequences of exposing her family’s secrets. With some good advice and self-evaluation, Autumn defers her publishing dream with new perspective.
Write This Down is told in a train-of-thought style that feels like Autumn talking to her diary. While this allows for a greater degree of intimacy with her character than would be possible in other approaches, it often just comes across as unfiltered and frequently tangential. This can make the book more tiring and confusing to read than the storyline calls for. Also, while Mills has in many ways faithfully represented the mind of a twelve-year-old girl, the commitment to infatuation, self-centeredness, and sometimes victimization reaches a point that, by the middle of the book, the reader may actually sympathize with Hunter rather than Autumn. Thankfully, Autumn does experience character growth and awareness by the end of the novel, but it does feel somewhat overshadowed by the culminating explanation behind Hunter’s negative behavior.