Friday, May 22, 2020

"Brave Girl, Quiet Girl"

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of more than 40 published and forthcoming books.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Brave Girl, Quiet Girl, and reported the following:
From page 69:
So I was trying to decide, but I was getting all frozen up in the deciding, because the whole thing was just too stressful for me.

Finally I figured the guy was getting away, and nothing was more important than that phone call to the police, so I unwrapped myself from her real carefully, hoping she wouldn’t wake up.

And I got extra lucky, too, because she didn’t.

I ran down the hill to the street, and ran after the guy in the work shirt, and yelled real loud to try to stop him. But the thing is, I didn’t start yelling “Hey!” until I got down onto the sidewalk, because I didn’t want my yelling to wake the baby. Because if she woke up all alone in that hole and I wasn’t even there to comfort her, holy cow would she ever be scared. I figured she would scream bloody murder if that happened.

So I was yelling to this guy but he was already at the end of the block, and I felt this really desperate thing, this desperate feeling pulling me toward him, because he could make a phone call.

But then there was this other desperate thing pulling me back toward the hole, toward our hiding place, because I shouldn’t have left the little girl alone, not even for one second. And, let me tell you, it made me feel like I was being ripped apart right down the middle of me.

I got panicky then because he wasn’t hearing me, so I put all my panic into one great big shout.


He stopped and turned around, but right away I wanted to run back up the hill in case I had woke the little girl and she was up there all alone. But I didn’t. I stuck it out for a second because we needed that phone call. We just desperately needed that phone call.

It was a lot of stress for me and I don’t think I’m built for that much stress. Or maybe nobody is, I don’t know.
I think there are a couple of different tones and aspects to this novel, and I think the page 69 test is a good indicator of one of them.

The book starts out with a lot of drama and suspense—more so than most of my titles. We have a single mother who has lost her only child—a helpless 2-year-old—in a carjacking, and a scared, desperate street teen who has found the little girl and is trying to protect her until she can get somebody to call the police. There’s a lot at stake in these early chapters. And I do think page 69 captures that feeling.

But I also want potential readers to know that the book has other levels and tones to it. It’s also about unusual friendships, and getting past our assumptions about other people. It’s about LGBT teens who end up on the street when they try to come out to their parents, and the difficulty of trusting new people when the old ones have let you down so badly.

And, like all of my novels, it’s an exploration of our responsibility toward each other.

You probably didn’t get all that from page 69, so that’s why I’m telling you.
Visit Catherine Ryan Hyde's website.

Q&A with Catherine Ryan Hyde.

--Marshal Zeringue