Kat O’Connor, a 13-year-old girl growing up in Northeast Philadelphia, is emerging from sorrow after the recent death of her mother. Deeply hurt and angry that no one truly understands, she develops a friendship with a mentally challenged homeless man and envies his retreat from reality. A hit-and-run accident, an offbeat best friend, a mysterious spying neighbor, and an aging nun with a secret all throw Kat’s life into further turmoil and leave her at a crossroads.
Nominated for the Keystone State Reading Award
“...emotional, thoughtful, and highly recommended...” Midwest Book Review
“...excitement and mystery...” Kirkus
“...well-spun plot addresses issues of loss, life, and recovery on many levels.” Children’s
Kat's Surrender began not as a book but merely as a short scene in which two girls sat talking on the front steps of a home in the city. For as long as I can remember, I have been jotting down scenes, images, poems, and descriptions in journals, notebooks, and on scraps of paper. I do it simply for the fun of it. I'm not sure exactly why the dialogue between Kat and Maggie grew into a book. There was just something about them that stuck with me, and I carried around their characters in my mind for a long time. Soon, whenever I had a chance to write, I was adding to that first scene and a whole story started to emerge. Luckily, Kat's tragedy was not mine. However, I had no great difficulty in empathizing with Kat's feelings of anger, frustration, and loss. The death of a family member is a universal experience, difficult at any time, but perhaps most sharply felt at Kat's age. My grandparents passed away when I was at a similar age, as did the parents of several of my friends. I distinctly remember the pain and confusion of those difficult times. The setting of this book is in the Mayfair section of Northeast Philadelphia where I lived until I was 17 years old. I loved growing up in Mayfair and I thoroughly enjoyed writing about the neighborhood. Kat's house in the book is my childhood house. Her school is my elementary school (although the actual name of my old school is St. Matthew and not St. Mary). I had to cut a lot of description from the book because I tended to go on about my old neighborhood a bit too long. It was fun for me to write about, but I knew that my readers would prefer to get on with the story. It took me a long time to think of an appropriate title for this book, but I am happy with Kat's Surrender. Kat is so strong and determined that it takes her some time to finally realize that surrendering is the only way that she can win. I dedicated this book to my parents for doing such a great job and giving me a wonderful childhood, to my children in the hopes that I could give them the same, and to my husband Gil for supporting me in everything I do. Kat's Surrender can be purchased from Your Local Bookstore or ordered on line. Click any of the links below.