Getting Back to Normal by Marilyn Levinson

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getting back to normalGetting Back to Normal by Marilyn Levinson
Genre: YA/Grades 6-8
Published by: Untreed Reads Publishing
Release Date: May 29, 2013

Sixth-grader Vannie Taylor’s mom has just died. Her father’s completely lost without his wife and brings Vannie and her younger brother to live in a dismal cottage on the estate where he manages craft fairs, dinners, and other events.

A ghost named Archie befriends Vannie, and helps her prepare a wonderful supper for her brother. After Vannie discovers Archie’s secret, he asks Vannie to help him make amends for something in his past. But helping Archie means accepting a very large change in her own life. Things get back to normal for Vannie, but not in a way she’s ever imagined.


Me 018Marilyn Levinson, a former Spanish teacher, writes mysteries, romance, and books for children and young adults.

Her romantic suspense, DANGEROUS RELATIONS, is a love story entwined with an intriguing mystery. GIVING UP THE GHOST is an entertaining ghost mystery. The first of her Twin Lakes Mysteries, A MURDERER AMONG US, was awarded a Best Indie of 2011 by Suspense Magazine. A new edition of A MURDERER AMONG US and its sequel, MURDER IN THE AIR, will be out soon.

A ghost, a mansion, and a feral Maine Coon cat feature in Marilyn’s brand new YA, GETTING BACK TO NORMAL. Three of her popular out-of-print children’s books, AND DON’T BRING JEREMY, NO BOYS ALLOWED, and RUFUS AND MAGIC RUN AMOK are now available as ebooks.

Marilyn is co-founder and past-president of the Long Island chapter of Sisters in Crime. She lives on Long Island.

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Books like Getting Back to Normal by Marilyn Levinson are one of the reasons I truly enjoy reading YA. I feel like it speaks to every generation. Marilyn tells a wonderful story here, through the eyes of a 6th grader. It all felt pretty accurate, as my older daughter will be entering the 6th grade this fall. In this story, Vannie has recently lost her mother. She and her little brother feel like they’re on their own, as if their father is just about ready to go off the deep end without their mother there to look after him. It’s touching when Vannie discusses her mother. You can feel that she is sad, but also that she wants to be strong for her family.

When they move to a cottage, on property belonging to her Aunt Mayda, Vannie is upset to be leaving their home. Her father feels as if he needs to be away from painful memories. Vannie ends up meeting up with Archie, a handsome young man who gives her a yummy recipe to make for dinner. Vannie tries it, since her mother was a caterer, and she wants to be able to cook for her family, too. The recipe is a hit, and Vannie soon tries to seek Archie out again. What she realizes is that Archie is not who he seems to be. He is willing to help her with recipes, but only if she helps him with something much bigger.

This is an entertaining story that reads quickly. I kept wanting to read ‘just a little more’ before putting it down. Even though it is lower YA, I still felt a connection to the characters and the story. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and will be letting my 11 year old daughter read it as well, as I know she’ll love it! Definitely worth checking out!

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  1. Brooke,
    I’m delighted that you enjoyed reading GETTING BACK TO NORMAL. After your daughter reads it, tell her to email me to let me know how she liked it.
    BTW, I’m a new grandma. My granddaughter’s name is Olivia Brooke:)

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