Children's Author
Young Adult Novelist

Michelle D. Kwasney


My new YA novel
Blue Plate Special
will be released in fall 2009
from Chronicle Books.
Check back soon for details!

My middle-grade novel
(Henry Holt, 2008)

is now available as an 
Recorded Books and Audible Kids.

Click below to listen to an excerpt:

Chapter One: Unjust
Chapter Two: Melancholy
Chapter Three: Bob Dylan Was Right

Read an
Read a
short summary.
Print a Study Guide (PDF)
for classroom, library, or book group use.

 Order Itch on  or or
locate an
independent bookseller near you.


                                   Current Projects 

    I've recently finished a young adult novel, Unsaid, and I'm now I'm at work on a middle-grade novel, Downtown. Below is a summary of each. 


        Charlotte (nicknamed Charlie), and Amber are complete opposites. 

Charlie listens to classic rock; Amber’s into top 40.

Amber reads the book; Charlie waits for the movie on DVD.

Amber swings straight A’s; Charlie barely manages B’s and C’s.

Still, they've been best friends since fourth grade. And they've told each other everything. Everything. Until the spirng of their junior year when Amber falls for a boy at the same time Charlie develops a crush on a girl.
        Unsaid explores the secrets we keep, the damage they create, and the path we must travel to uncover our own truth.
       Change isn't easy. But neither is living a lie.
       Sometimes we have to risk it all. With or without our best friend. 



The year is 1965, and eleven-year-old Jolene Lipton craves a life as sparkly as the lyrics of Petula Clark’s Downtown. But nothing in her ho-hum existence comes close to the glimmer of her favorite billboard hit.  The oldest of three girls, Jolene feels hugely underappreciated—and more than a little embarrassed by a mother who specializes in Rude and Nosy Questions.

When her family moves from their cramped apartment in Pawtucket’s Peak, Pennsylvania to a bungalow on the banks of the Susquehanna River in New York State, Jolene is anything but disappointed. Never mind that their new house is “stained” by flood damage, Jolene has high hopes that starting over might be just the change she needs to bring a little bit of Downtown into her own backyard.

One by one, she meets her new neighbors. Most interesting to Jolene is eccentric Mrs. Spitzer who has an odd hobby: crafting hanging lanterns out of glass jars, tin cans, and stove pipe wire, fashioning them to resemble different animals. Jolene’s favorite is a turtle, named Barnaby after Mrs. Spitzer’s twenty-two-year-old son. However, after meeting Barnaby the person Jolene much prefers the lantern. Not only does Barnaby have a humungous chip on his shoulder and use his vocal chords even less than her painfully introverted father, he’s crippled with Polio and hasn’t left the house in years.

But as the two spend time together, Jolene learns that Barnaby is more than just a bitter recluse in a wheelchair. He’s someone with his own Downtown dreams—dreams he will never live out. As their friendship grows, Jolene becomes determined to help him try.

After all, there’s a little bit of Downtown sparkle in all of us.

The trick, with some folks, is finding it.