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by Barbara Dee

UNSTUCK by Barbara Dee

Lyla is thrilled when her seventh grade class begins a daily creative writing project. For the past year she's been writing a brilliant fantasy novel in her head, and here's her chance to get it on paper! The plot is super complicated, with battle scenes and witches and a mysterious one-toed-beast, although basically it's a semi-autobiographical story about an overlooked girl who has to rescue her beautiful, highly accomplished older sister.

But writing a fantasy novel turns out to be harder than simply imagining one, and pretty soon Lyla finds herself stuck, experiencing the sort of panic that she realizes is writer's block. Part of the problem is that she's trying to impress certain people--like Rania, her best friend who's definitely pulling away, and Ms. Bowman, the coolest teacher at school. Plus, there's the pressure of meeting the deadline for the town writing contest. A few years ago, Lyla's superstar sister Dahlia came in second, and this time Lyla is determined to win first prize.

Finally, Lyla confides about her writing problems to Dahlia, who is dealing with her own academic stress as she applies to college. That's when she learns Dahlia's secret, which is causing a very different type of writer's block. Can Lyla rescue her surprisingly vulnerable big sister, both on the page and in real life?

Praise for Unstuck

"A wonderful, heartfelt and honest story about trying to write a novel and survive middle school, UNSTUCK is this generation's DEAR MR. HENSHAW." - Kirby Larson, author of Newbery Honor Book Hattie Big Sky

“Lyla is a character to root for! Her battle with writer’s block and her journey to overcome it are both relatable and inspiring. With family and friendship relationships weaved in, Unstuck is an entertaining and heartfelt read.” - Janae Marks, author of From the Desk of Zoe Washington

"A portrait of a writer as a seventh grader! Humorous, heart-warming, and oh-so-real, Unstuck shows us how surviving middle school is a lot like the craft of writing. We must accept that it isn't easy, it helps to have friends, and, above all, we have to stay true to ourselves. Word lovers and budding novelists will love this book -- but so will anyone who is, will soon be, or once was an adolescent." - Jennifer Ziegler, author of Worser

“UNSTUCK joyfully celebrates the complex writing process and empowers young readers with the knowledge that creativity is a personal journey and sometimes strength is found in unexpected places.” Veera Hiranandani, author of Newbery Honor-winning The Night Diary and How To Find What You’re Not Looking For

Barbara Dee is the author of over a dozen highly acclaimed middle grade novels. Her books frequently appear on “best of” lists and have received numerous starred reviews. She has authored viral blog posts about inclusivity in children’s book publishing, and frequently appears at schools, conferences, and in media outlets to discuss her work and the handling of sensitive topics in middle grade fiction.