Selected Works

Fiction/9-11 year olds
Accompanied by an irrepressible eight-year-old girl, two twelve-year-old boys are hurled unexpectedly into the future and get a glimpse of a world they want no part of. Will they be able to overcome their dislike of each other and find a way back to the present? Will they be able to make the future "come out better"? And what if one of them is left behind...?
Fiction/YA
Accused of a murder he did not commit, fifteen-year old Matt McKendrick struggles to prove his innocence to a city full of strangers and to two police detectives assigned to his case. Now available as a e-Book from B&N and Amazon.
Re-entering the world of school and strangers and dreading the unaswerable question, "Aren't you the one who killed a little girl and got away with it?", sixteen-year-old Matt McKendrick finds friendship and hostility in unexpected places.
To show strangers who still hate him that they can't make him quit, Matt is determined to win the Runner of the Year award. His strongest rival is a black runner as good as he is. Only one of them can win the award, and only one does.
Steeling himself against the agonies of returning to his home town where memories of his lost family can no longer be buried, Matt spends a tumultuous summer working on a guest ranch with four of his closest friends and one of his oldest enemies.
Fiction/YA/Short Story
An old murder and the people involved in it reappear suddenly in the present, forcing 16-year-old Zach and his father to try to right an old wrong. The consequences are both unforeseen and disastrous. Printed in the collection SHORT CIRCUITS edited by Donald Gallo, November 1992.
Non-fiction
Article written for the ALAN Review on why I write, where I get my ideas, and why reading and books are so vitally important in today's world.

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Watch Out, World! (2007)
Two twelve-year-old boys--one African-American, the other white--meet at a summer camp as co-counselors in charge of a class of third graders. Enemies at first, when DeVon and Victor are hurled into the future with eight-year-old Cassie, facing real dangers in an increasingly hostile world, they begin to recognize and rely on each others strengths. But how long can they hide themselves in the hills? Can they find a way to get back to the present? In back-to-back narratives, each boy tells his own version of their adventure, and young readers are invited to imagine "what happens next".

The Truth Trap
When his parents are killed in a car accident, fifteen-year-old Matt McKendrick runs away from his hometown with his small deaf sister, Katie, to prevent her being placed in an institution. Reaching Los Angeles, exhausted and hungry, they take refuge in an abandoned theater. When Matt returns to the theater after an unsuccessful day hunting for work, he finds Katie gone and the police waiting to accuse him of her murder. Alone in a city of strangers, Matt sets out on a desperate quest, doing battle with the dragons of suspicion, hatred, and his own unbearable remorse and self doubt before he proves to himself and to the man who despises him that he is who he says he is.
Winner of the California Young Reader Medal Award (high school category) and an ALA Best Book of the Year.
Available as an e-Book from B&N and Amazon.

Aren't You the One Who...?
Matt McKendrick has found himself a place with the Ryder family, but the murder of his small sister has not been solved and he dreads the beginning of the school year. The only positive things he feels he has going for him are the love and support of the Ryders and his talent for running, both of which will be threatened by events during the year. As a young man stripped of his past, his faith in himself and his ability to trust others, Matt must find his way back into the ordinary world of school and friends carrying a tremendous residue of gult and pain. But his growing friendship with the Schuyler family who have suffered losses of their own, and his refusal to accept the unacceptable whatever the consequences, give him the strength he needs to battle through.

Losers and Winners
Matt has been through more hard times than most high school seniors. Two years ago his parents died in a car accident. Soon after that Matt found himself accused of his little sister's murder. Although the people closest to him know he is innocent, to the rest of the world, which knows him only through newspaper stories, he is still the boy who killed a little girl and got away with it.
Now, in his senior year, Matt is one of two outstanding young athletes competing for the Runner of the Year award. His rival is Duke Grieve, a black runner from another school. As Matt and the Duke chase each other around the track--each one determined to win the award which will change his life--tensions, fueled by sports writers covering their fierce competition in the papers, are building among their fans.
Not even the discovery of Katie's real killer is able to prevent the inevitable explosion of hatred and its unexpected aftermath...

Cutting Loose
Publicly cleared at last of the murder charge, and with a triumphant finish to his high school track career behind him, Matt is looking forward to an uneventful summer before college begins. His good buddy Gary changes all that with an invitation to come back to Craigie with Meg and Will, to work for the new owners of his family's ranch which has been turned into a guest ranch. Reluctantly Matt accepts the challenge of going home, of confronting his old friends and neighbors and coming to terms with the agony of his past. But beyond the expected pain, the summer turns out to be full of surprises, laughter, and some discoveries that threaten to turn Matt's life, not to mention those of his good buddies, upside down once more.

"Something's Different"
When Zach asks his dad about the strange girl he's just seen down at the old abandoned house, he gets a response that scares him. His dad can't see the girl, but he knows who she is. Or rather, who she was. When Zach and his dad try to replay her last days and make them end differently, they find out how dangerous it can be to try to alter the past.

More Than Story
In an article written for teachers and librarians in a national journal, I cover almost every question ever asked me during my journeys to countless high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, and juvenile detention centers to talk about why books are such a vital force in the lives of the young, and why I was willing to go through the agonies of sleepless nights and unproductive days, rewrites and rejections to get these four books out of my head and into the hands of readers.