I have great power.
That’s what she told me. The old fortune-teller at the school carnival.
I thought I was doing the right thing … with the magic journal she gave me. But nothing could prepare me for what happened next.
Or, for what I unleashed.
At a school carnival, a mysterious fortune-teller gives twelve-year-old Angela Ashby a journal and warns her to use it wisely. Nothing prepares Angela for the journal’s power—when she pours her heart onto its pages her desires come true.
She tests the journal by conjuring a gnome, a unicorn, and a farting fairy and then uses it to stop the school bullies in their tracks. But the unintended consequences alienate her best friend and puts her favorite teacher in danger of losing her job.
After she shares her deepest desire of all—that her parents get back together—her adversary steals the journal, and Angela fears she will use it to bring mayhem to the entire school if she doesn’t get it back.
Praise for THE JOURNAL OF ANGELA ASHBY
“Gardner has created a likable character in Angela, who faces off with the class bully in defense of herself and her best friend. Alternately full of sass and seriousness, Angela quickly learns that writing in her new journalmay lead to some unintended consequences, some hilarious and some grave. An enjoyable tween romp about the familiar world of bullies mixed with a bit of magic, this one would be great for a class read or group discussion.” ―Seattle Book Review
“The Journal of Angela Ashby is a middle grade fiction by Liana Gardner and is perfectly written for the target audience. A combination of magic, childhood troubles, social messages, and the need to think before acting is prevalent, and a lesson well ingrained into the pages, There is some good tension building, injections of humour, and character development. Angela and Mallory make a great team, perfectly complementing each other in the way close friends do. This is certainly a book I will read with my son when he is older, as I think it instills some important lessons and values,much like the old 80’s and 90’s cartoons used to do. While the book itself has a clear beginning and end, there are hints that a sequel may follow, and it’s certainly something I would consider picking up. If you’re looking for a story of friendship, childhood problems, and a healthy sprinkling of magic in everyday life, then look no further.” ―K.J. Simmill, Award-Winning British Author
“The Journal of Angela Ashby by Liana Gardner is a charming story of action and consequence. Gardner presents her characters and their problems with an equal touch of magic and reality. This allows the message of the tale to come through while entertaining instead of preaching. Gardner does a great job of taking what could be a clichéd story and putting a few twists in it to keep it fresh and humorous.” ―Kris Moger, Readers’ Favorite
“The Journal of Angela Ashby is an engaging and fun coming-of-age story about a twelve-year-old girl who is suddenly the possessor of great power. I loved following as Angela began to appreciate her journal‘s powers and realized the importance of carefully considering everything she wished for. Throughout the story, Gardner addresses the issue of bullies and bullying, which is something all kids and most adults have to deal with at some point, and she shows how Angela learns to differentiate between solving the problem and descending into bullying behavior herself. Gardner also admirably addresses the stress and confusion felt by kids and tweens when their mom and dad get divorced. The Journal of Angela Ashby is a marvelous fantasy that brings up real-life issues without lowering the magic and fun potential for a moment, and Sam Shearon’s illustrations really make it all come alive most brilliantly.” ―Jack Magnus, Author
Liana Gardner is the award-winning author of 7th Grade Revolution and the Misfit McCabe series. Daughter of a rocket scientist and an artist, Liana combines the traits of both into a quirky yet pragmatic writer and in everything sees the story lurking beneath the surface. Engaged in a battle against leukemia and lymphoma, Liana spends much of her time at home but allows her imagination to take her wherever she wants to go.
She fostered her love of writing after reading Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and discovering she had a great deal in common with the character Jo. The making up of stories, dramatic feelings, and a quick temper were enough for her to know she and Jo would have been kindred spirits.
Liana volunteers with high school students through the International Trade Education Programs (ITEP). ITEP unites business people and educators to prepare students for a meaningful place in the world of tomorrow. Working in partnership with industry and educators, ITEP helps young people “think globally and earn locally.”
1. What is on your nightstand?
What ISN’T on my nightstand? Lighthouse lamp, nail clippers, nail file, coconut oil, Thieves oil, all-natural topical cream with essential oils for muscle and joint pain relief, various prescription meds to be used as needed, hair bands, Biofreeze, oil diffuser, nitrile gloves, screen cleaners, contacts for my tens machine, and Chapstick. I don’t keep my Kindle on the nightstand because of all the oils, but it is never far.
2. What author would you totally fan?
Agatha Christie and JK Rowling. Agatha Christie because she was a master of the plot twist. And I’m in awe of JK Rowlings plotting prowess. The way she planted seeds in the first Harry Potter that didn’t bloom until much later books is nothing short of masterful.
3. What makes you cringe?
Politics/Politicians – whether it be in public office or office politics. I’m a bottom-line sort of person and all of the maneuvering and manipulating that goes on to achieve whatever goal is on the board makes me cringe.
In writing, I have several things I cringe over: purple prose, clunky phrasing, parentheses in fiction, asides to the reader … unless the book is written to specifically address the reader, but otherwise, it throws me out of the story, and too many more to list.
4. Do you obsessively plot out each point or just go with the flow?
It depends on the book. When I began writing, I tended to plot out each point and couldn’t write unless I wrote in sequential order. I almost always start with a loose outline, with some more fully outlined than others. In the case of The Journal of Angela Ashby, it is the first book I wrote without having any idea of what the book was about, plot points, etc. I started with Angela and the only thing I knew is that she wanted to tell me her story. So I had to trust my character to direct me in the right way to develop a cohesive story line.
5. Is there a word you love to use?
I cannot say there is a word I consciously love to use. But I can say by the time I finish a first draft on any book, there will be a multitude of words I have to go on a search and destroy mission for … that, was, just, very, all the adverbs, sense words, etc. Although the search and destroy mission is generally later in my process. I pay attention to potential plot holes, pacing, and inconsistencies first because I invariably need to modify big chunks, and usually end up adding, so looking for the words that I need to cut needs to wait until closer to the final. Otherwise, I have to do the tedious part of editing twice, and the thought of having to do so makes me tremble and probably whimper a bit.
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