Books by Jenny Moss

TAKING OFF by Jenny Moss
FICTION
Released: Jan. 4, 2011

Living in Clear Lake, Texas, home of Johnson Space Center, in 1985, high-school senior Annie, the granddaughter of Winnie from Winnie's War (2009), secretly writes poetry in a town filled with scientists. With her single mother encouraging her to go to college and her longtime boyfriend hoping she'll settle down with him, everyone has a plan for Annie—except Annie. Then she meets Christa McAuliffe, training at J.S.C., and decides that she must watch this self-assured teachernaut achieve her dreams. After a sorrowful yet enlightening road trip, accompanied by her single dad and—unexpectedly—his young co-worker, to watch the Challenger launch, Annie discovers that she must see her own dreams take wings. Moss, a former NASA engineer who trained some of the Challenger crew, marks the 25th anniversary of the Challenger disaster with this tender tribute to McAuliffe and her continuing inspiring impact on the youth of America. While depicting the feel of the mid-'80s—jean jackets and shoulder pads galore—she also beautifully portrays the timeless teen quest for identity. (author's note, bibliography) (Historical fiction. YA)Read full book review >
SHADOW by Jenny Moss
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: April 1, 2010

The common fantasy themes of hidden royal identity and reluctance to be a monarch are distinguished here with a grimly resolute protagonist defined by deep-rooted pragmatism and plagued by persistent doubt and desperation for freedom. Named only Shadow and treated as such, this 15-year-old spends every moment at Queen Audrey's side, stuck claustrophobically inside the castle, charged with the amorphous task of heading off the Queen's foretold death. Queen and handmaidens slap her around; others barely see her. But if she's only a shadow, why does a knight spirit her out of the castle when the Queen's death occurs and murderous chaos erupts? Neither Shadow nor knight know the answer, as they journey from castle to town to mountain, and each keeps confused secrets, stuck in distrust. Magic, wary romance and an unexpectedly vital old religion gracefully emerge and coalesce to solve all the mysteries, from the kingdom's history to Shadow's personal grief. Shadow's first-person voice is formal and sometimes lofty, matching her insistent defensiveness, and her mettle is unromanticized in this understatedly meaningful almost-fairy tale. (Fantasy. YA)Read full book review >
WINNIE’S WAR by Jenny Moss
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 1, 2009

In fall of 1918, the threat of Spanish influenza tops the list of Winnie's concerns—along with her frail sister, her gentle but completely unassertive father and her mother, who remains emotionally crippled by storms from the past. The only strong member of the family, besides herself, is her grandmother, who seems far more concerned about the town society queens than her own family. Winnie fights on all fronts, but not until true tragedy hits does she realize how much she can count on the strength of her allies—and who her allies are. The first-person narrative beautifully captures Winnie's voice and, especially, life in a small Southern town, where everyone understands that "Thank you all for coming" can mean "Get the heck out of my house," and where the sheriff, learning of one of Winnie's transgressions, orders her to go home and not tell her grandmother. Moss handles the large cast of characters and historical information with a deft touch, always allowing the narrative to carry the story. A multifaceted, nuanced debut. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >