Thursday, April 30, 2020


Nicole C. Kear is the author of the memoir Now I See You, chosen as a Must-Read by People, Amazon, Martha Stewart Living, Parade, Redbook, and Marie Claire UK among others. Her books for children include the new middle grade novel Foreverland, the chapter series The Fix-It Friends, and the middle grade series The Startup Squad, co-written with Brian Weisfeld. Her essays appear in the New York Times, Good Housekeeping, New York, Psychology Today, Parents, as well as Salon, the Huffington Post and xoJane. She teaches non-fiction writing at Columbia University and the NYU School of Professional Studies.

A native of New York, Kear received a BA from Yale, a MA from Columbia, and a red nose from the San Francisco School of Circus Arts. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, three children and two teddy bear hamsters.

Kear applied the Page 69 Test to Foreverland and reported the following:
On page 69:
Fun fact: Places that aren't scary get scary in a hurry when you are alone in the dark.

The cheesy, harmless Haunted House is now giving me goosebumps so intense that I may require medical attention. Here, under the bed, in the darkness, I even half believe that zombies and vampires and ghosts are real. The dark does that. It's like a key that unlocks the door to your worst imaginings.

As soon as I hear the door slam, I want to crawl out from under the bed and switch all the lights back on. I don't, of course. That's a rookie move. What if Flip Flop Girl forgot her phone or keys or wallet, or Tiny Braid Girl left her special comb that she uses to make such tiny braids? You don't have to watch too many scary movies to figure out Rule Number One of not getting murdered is: never assume the coast is clear.
Yes, I think this test works for Foreverland! It actually brings us to the first page of one of my favorite chapters, where 12-year-old Margaret spends the night in the amusement park's Haunted House, sleeping in the bed next to an animatronic Dracula. "Fun fact:" is a running thread in Margaret's narrative voice, and this excerpt touches on her fear of the dark, which is strikingly relevant since Margaret struggles with anxiety throughout the book. It's part of why running away from home is such an unexpected move for her. I also think the blend of interiority with the forward motion of the plot found here is really illustrative of the book as a whole.

The one element of the book that isn’t captured on page 69 (and it’s an important one!), is the friendship between Margaret and Jaime, since they haven’t yet become friends at this point. We see Margaret’s loneliness on this page, and that’s an important part of why she left home – she’s lost her best friend, feels invisible in middle school, and is even ignored by her sister, with whom she used to share a deep connection. But what we don’t get to see is the life-changing friendship she forges at the park with Jaime, a fellow runaway. Jaime is Margaret’s polar opposite – where she is shy, cautious, doubting, he is gregarious, reckless, over confident. The two help themselves to an all-access, after hours pass, complete with junk food overload, DIY makeovers, and an unlimited ticket to ride. Along the way, Jaime teaches Margaret bigger lessons too, about riding the roller coaster of life — how to let go and maybe even enjoy the wild ride. And, as in any good friendship, she teaches him something, too: how to hold on and stay connected, even when it feels too hard to bear. This is where so much of the heart of the book, and a lot of the fun resides, and we don’t get a glimpse of it on page 69. So, my advice is: start from page one and keep reading!
Visit Nicole C. Kear's website.

Q&A with Nicole C. Kear.

My Book, The Movie: Foreverland.

--Marshal Zeringue