Twelve-year-old Lindy Perkins desperately wants to get back to Philadelphia. She wants everything to be like it used to be before The Awful Thing happened and her whole life changed. But she’s stuck living in fancy Shelbourne, where all the kids are rich, and Lindy has to pretend that she is, too. But the worst thing of all is the secret that she has been hiding even from her own family. It is the secret of what she did that day – the day that changed all their lives forever.
Honor Book, Society of School Librarians International
VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers
Penna. State Library Association YA Top Forty Fiction
“…It’s a masterful performance, and the read is agonizingly suspenseful as the author gradually increases both the familial and social pressure on her fiercely struggling, down-but-not-out heroine….her depiction of the “crazy-upside-down roller-coaster ride” dynamics of 12 – the friendships, rivalries, crushes, and little and big social slights—is almost unbearably real as is her sympathetic understanding of the human condition.” -Kirkus Reviews
"Readers will appreciate the wonderful softball descriptions and infusions of suspense and humor..." -School Library Journal
There is a house that I have passed on the highway numerous times. It is an old house and somewhat rundown. But the thing that has always caught my attention about this house is that it sits so close to the highway that it seems that if you lived there, you could stick your hand out your bedroom window and touch the passing cars and trucks. This house is in a wealthy suburb and most of the homes around it are very big and expensive. I started to wonder who lived in that house and why they lived there. I imagined what it would be like to live there if you were a 12-year-old girl going to the local middle school and all your classmates were the much wealthier kids from the surrounding big homes. This was how I got the idea for The Truth About Twelve. As I was writing, I knew that something awful had happened in Lindy's past. She called it "The Awful Thing." But I didn't know what "The Awful Thing" was until I got to the end of the story. When I finally figured it out, I had to go back and make revisions in the manuscript. Sometimes, even though I am the author, I can't force things to happen in a story. I have to wait and see what they will be. I know that sounds strange, but it is true. A character takes on a life of her own and you cannot make her do or say things that don't fit her. The setting for The Truth About Twelve is a suburb of Philadelphia. I gave it the fictional name of Shelbourne. When I was in high school, my family moved out of the city and into the suburbs. We moved because we were a very large family in a small house and our new home had much more room. I believe that there are advantages and disadvantages to living in either the city or the suburbs. The house in the suburbs was larger and we had a yard with grass in the back. There was a quaint, small town about one mile away with little shops on the main street. There were farms and farmer's stands, hayrides in the fall, and strawberry picking in the summer. But everything was far away and you could not walk to school or to shops. The houses were not close together and we did not see our neighbors as much. In the city, we were cramped, but we could walk to the park, the playground, the schools, and to our friends' houses. We could take a bus to places that were too far away for a walk. Lindy misses all the familiar things about the city where she grew up, but before long, she will consider the suburbs her home. This is the only book I have ever written where I knew the title before I had finished with the story. Twelve can be a difficult time. Your parents want you to act grown up but sometimes still treat you as though you were six. You are too old to join in little kid games but too young to go out with the older kids. As Lindy says in the book, "It's weird when you're twelve." Everyone doesn't feel the same way at age twelve, of course. But I do think that everyone goes through a time growing up when they feel as though they are in between - not quite a kid and not quite a grown up. I dedicated this book to my father who died shortly before it was published. He was the smartest person I have ever known. His parents were Irish immigrants and their family was poor. He remembered sailing to America on a ship called the Caledonia, and gazing up at the Statue of Liberty on his way to Ellis Island. My father worked hard and became a successful man, but he always considered his family to be his greatest success. The Truth About Twelve can be purchased from Your Local Bookstore or ordered on line. Click on any of the links below.