Dear Writer's Voice,
Makenna Reid has never had a best friend, finished two grades in the same school, or lived in a house without wheels. In her eleven years as a Coast Guard brat, Mack has learned not to get too close to anything or anyone—until her family is transferred to Seward, Alaska (a.k.a. The Armpit of the Universe) and she moves in across the street from Travis O’Connell.
Travis and his sisters are living Mack’s worst nightmare, a parent lost at sea. When Mack overhears a fisherman who miraculously survived a terrible accident raving about “the seal people,” she comes to suspect that the icy waters of Resurrection Bay are hiding a secret—one that may be connected to the disappearance of Travis’s father. She becomes determined to uncover the truth and restore her friend’s family. As they search for answers together, Travis and the other residents of Bear Lake RV Park help Mack tear down the walls around her heart and begin to carve out a place in the world for herself.
When tragedy strikes again, Mack and Travis undertake a dangerous rescue to save someone they both love. If they succeed, they might both find the thing they want most in the place they least expected.
Complete at 50,000 words, TRUE NORTH is a middle-grade novel with a touch of magical realism. I am a reformed Coast Guard brat turned middle school librarian, and I lived for two years in the small Alaska town where TRUE NORTH is set. Thank you for your time and consideration.
The first thing I notice about Alaska is the dog poop. It's all over everything, filling the ditches and studding the piles of gritty snow that line the curb. Gross. I unbuckle my seatbelt and stand up between my parents in the front seats of the van, trying to get a better look at the place that will be my home for the next two years. I pull off my headphones and let them dangle around my neck.
I have the weirdest feeling that we have driven through a portal into a black-and-white movie. All the color has somehow leached out of the world, leaving everything varying shades of gray. Gray streets lined with gray buildings slope down toward the icy waters of Resurrection Bay. On every side, slate-colored mountains rise against the cloudy sky, and all over the ground the remains of the winter snow slump into heaps of grimy slush. Welcome to Seward, Alaska, population 1,863. It definitely does not look like the brochure.
"No way," I say. "I am not living here."
Daddy sighs. "It's not like I have a choice, Makenna. You know how this works."
Unfortunately, I exactly know how this works. I have done this every two years my entire life. We go where the Coast Guard sends us, whether we like it or not.
"Don't panic yet," Mama says. "Maybe the campground will be nicer."
Doubtful. I can tell from the way her smile looks strained and fake that she doesn't really believe that either.